A raccoon latrine is one of the reasons why it’s dangerous to have a raccoon living in your attic and even on your property. If you haven’t heard this term before, our Gaithersburg raccoon removal experts will be happy to tell you all about it, as we’ve found and cleaned up numerous latrines during our many years in business.
So What is a Latrine?
A latrine is basically a fancy name for a raccoon litter box. That’s right, just like cats, raccoons pick an area where they go to the bathroom, so to speak. It can be a fairly large area, much bigger than what your cat has. And depending on how many raccoons are using it, it can get covered in feces and soaked in urine pretty fast. If you think cat pee stinks, you haven’t dealt with an indoor raccoon latrine before. Now imagine that this latrine is in your attic or your back yard! We know, it’s an unpleasant thought, but for many Maryland homeowners it’s a sad reality.
The Danger of Raccoon Latrines
Having a designated “toilet” area may sound like a pretty hygienic concept. And it may as well be that way for raccoons, but not for humans. Besides the sheer grossness of having a raccoon litter box over your head or underneath your feet, there are serious health risks involved. Raccoons are known to carry raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis)—a dangerous parasite that does little to raccoons. It lives in the raccoon’s intestines and produces eggs that are expelled with feces. From there, the eggs can be picked up and ingested by other raccoons, your household pets and humans. Children are especially prone to picking up raccoon roundworm, as they unknowingly touch their face and mouth with dirty hands. Although there is only a small number of reported cases, for those who do contract raccoon roundworm the prognosis is less than hopeful. The parasite tends to cause encephalitis, attaching the central nervous system. If the infected person survives, they are likely to suffer from blindness, deafness or have significant brain damage.
Protecting Your Family From Raccoon Roundworm
If you think that roundworm is a rare occurrence in raccoons, hear this: anywhere from 70% to 100% of the U.S. raccoon population carry the parasite. And if you think that there are no raccoons near you, we may have to disappoint you again. A 2009 survey found that 51% of lawns in suburban Chicago had a raccoon latrine. If your home is in or near a forest, pond or a marshy area, there is a good chance you have raccoons living near you. To protect yourself and your family, the best you can do is make sure everyone knows to wash their hands after working outside or touching animals that have been outside. If you suspect a raccoon is living in your home or on your property, or if you find a latrine, call a Maryland raccoon removal professional to have the animal removed and the latrine cleaned up. Don’t try to clean a latrine yourself, especially if you are not using proper protective gear. Roundworm eggs can survive long after they’ve been deposited, even if the latrine is no longer active. They are also extremely resilient to disinfectants and are best killed with heat. Contact us today if you have any questions or need help evicting unwelcome wildlife from your home or yard.