Raccoons are cute. Those bushy tails. That black “mask” around the eyes. Their cleverness.
But raccoons can be quite the pest:
• They love pet food and will eat it if they can access it. Once they do, it will be a real challenge to stop them from coming into your yard – or even your home, if they’ve found access.
• They can be aggressive if you provoke them, especially if they feel you could be a threat to their young. A male raccoon looks quite cuddly while he’s on all fours, but they tend to rise up on their hind legs when threatened, front paws extended and can move toward you. And they mean business! They “suddenly” look rather big and not at all cute and sweet.
• Raccoons do pose a rabies threat. Signs that a raccoon may have rabies are lack of coordination, fearlessness toward humans, and unprovoked aggression. Raccoons generally are nocturnal, so if you see them during the day, it could indicate rabidity. Never approach a sick raccoon; call your local animal control authority.
Even if raccoons never eat your pet’s food or riffle through your outdoor trash cans, if you see raccoon droppings in your garden or around your home, watch out!
Why? Because in addition to possibly spreading rabies, raccoon feces could hold raccoon roundworm, a condition that can infect humans, possibly causing blindness and other symptoms.
Dogs, for some reason, are particularly fascinated by raccoon droppings and so could be infected with the roundworm disease because it can be spread by ingesting or even inhaling the worm’s eggs found on the feces – and there could be millions of roundworm eggs!
Symptoms of the roundworm condition in humans include:
• Skin irritation
• Loss of coordination and muscle control
• Liver enlargement
• Even coma
If you know you’ve come into contact with raccoon feces, seek immediate medical help.
While raccoons tend to live in wooded areas, they also will visit human’s decks, gardens, sidewalks, steps, etc. It’s therefore wise to learn how to recognize their feces.
Raccoon droppings tend to be flat-ended, “crumbly” and could contain a variety of not-quite-fully digested food items. They tend to run from 3-5 inches in length, but usually are broken into segments. Their diameter tends to be about the size of the tip of a human’s little finger.
You can clean up the feces yourself, but you need to be extremely cautious. Wear protective gear, including rubber gloves. It’s also wise to wear disposable overalls, rubber boots and even a respirator. (Yes, handling the droppings is serious business!)
You’ll need to double bag the droppings and burn them. If that’s not possible, bury them at least three feet deep in the ground. Don’t toss them into the trash as the roundworm eggs remain viable for years and could harm an unsuspecting human or foraging animal.
Far wiser to call a pest control company such as Nature’s Way Pest Control to clear the droppings for you. Contact us at 518-745-5958 (New York residents) or 802-855-2978 (Vermont residents).