Raccoons are actually very clean animals, and will go to the bathroom in the same spot, away from where they eat and sleep. This spot is known as a “Latrine Site”. Luckily a raccoon’s commitment to a latrine site isn’t very strong, so it’s usually pretty easy to get them to choose a different one.

How to stop a raccoon from defecating in a particular spot

Move around some furniture

If the spot is on a deck or patio, you can just move around some furniture. Put a planter or a table in the spot the raccoon usually uses. Raccoons reuse the same spot because it’s habit—break the habit and they might move on.

Raccoons don’t like to walk on plastic

Because their paws are so sensitive, raccoons don’t like to walk on a double layer of plastic. Tape two painter’s sheets or garbage bags over the latrine area for a couple of weeks. That should convince the raccoon to find a new spot, and once the habit is broken you can remove the plastic.

Soak them out

If the latrine site is on a lawn or in a garden, overwater the area so that it’s wet and muddy. You can stop overwatering once the raccoons have stopped using the latrine.

A motion activated sprinkler (or a person turning the hose on them when caught in the act!) will also deter a raccoon from a latrine site. No one likes to get wet while doing Number Two!

Is raccoon feces dangerous?

Raccoons can carry the parasite Baylisascaris procyonis, or Raccoon Roundworm. It doesn’t affect raccoons, but when the eggs are ingested through raccoon feces it can cause serious symptoms in other animals, including humans. Get more information on raccoon roundworm here.

Be careful when cleaning up raccoon feces. Wear disposable gloves and a mask.  If the feces are old and dried out, give them a spritz with water first to keep the dust from floating in the air. If the latrine area is solid (like a deck or rooftop) steam-cleaning will get rid of any remaining eggs. If the latrine is on a lawn or in a backyard, turn the soil or add a layer of topsoil to limit exposure. Make sure to wash your hands afterwards, and avoid touching your face while cleaning.

Remember, you have to ingest the eggs to become infected, and the risk for transmission to humans is very low.