Raccoon Poop - Droppings & Waste in an Attic

raccoon poop


03.12.2005 - Holey mackerel, this attic was a mess!  I don't know if you can see very well in this photo, but the whole place was filled with huge piles of raccoon poop.  The insulation used to be pink, but now it's mostly brown from mud and urine stains, and the buildup of raccoon poo is tremendous.  This is just one section of the attic, but the whole attic was filled with raccoon waste.  It smelled terrible.  This home was in the Pine Hills, in a run down house, and I think the raccoons must have been using this attic for years.  The raccoons had access to many wide-open entry points.  This job would have been a very large effort to take care of correctly.  The house needed major structural repairs, and the attic should have had a complete insulation removal and replacement.  I got various fleas on my legs while in this attic, and I would prefer not to live in a home with this level of raccoon droppings.  I was unable to fix the problem for under $50, which is what the customer wanted, so I left this particular home with no money, which is too bad.  I'd have liked to help, but this job was out of my hands.  I did manage to get some photos of the attic, to show both the customer and my four loyal blog readers (Mom, Dad, Sis, and you), but that's about it.  The poop shall remain in this attic forevermore.

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Will state farm homeowner's insurance cover attic damage from raccoons, like poop? The only person who can answer that question for you is your insurance agent. Most of the time, homeowners' insurance does not cover animal damage. Critters like raccoons can only get into your house if there is a pre-existing damaged area, and a pre-existing area of damage will probably be considered homeowner negligence. That's not to say that some companies wouldn't view special circumstances. If you were called away for three months because your mother died and a raccoon took advantage of this time, well, they might just toss you a little cash. But as a rule of thumb, don't count on your insurance to foot any of the repair bill. However, homeowner's insurance does often pay for the cleanup of raccoon feces in the attic. Many companies specialize in working with insurance companies to ensure that they cover the cleanup of raccoon poop. When it comes to wild animals, keeping an eye on the top portion of your home is a good way to prevent a problem. By being diligent about sealing up holes and repairing old, worn areas, you ensure a raccoon won't find it too easy to get inside. Like most animals, if the raccoon has to work too hard at it, they'll get discouraged and wander away.

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Over the course of their stay in an attic, raccoons will produce a staggering amount of bodily waste. Leaving this waste for too long (or disposing of it without the right precautions) risks contaminating the insulation on which the waste falls, and exposing you and your pets to a host of potential diseases. In this article, we will detail both how to dispose of the waste safely, and what potential consequences unsafe disposal may have for you and any animals living with you.

How to dispose of raccoon waste safely
Firstly, if at all possible, you should allow paid professionals to collect and dispose of the waste for you: homeowners trying to collect waste by themselves often miss out a sizeable portion of the work (either through sheepishness or mistake), and tend to not possess the right equipment for the job, meaning that they both expose themselves to danger and fail to benefit from this exposure. Nonetheless, if you have no choice but to do it yourself, you must first invest in the right equipment. You will need:

A HEPA mask that has been tested to the HEPA standard (filtering 99.95-99.97% of particles 3 µm in length). Avoid masks marketed as ‘HEPA-style' or ‘99% HEPA,' which are often not compliant with the standard;

A protective full-body jumpsuit which adequately covers your whole body and leaves no air gaps at your extremities;

Thick gloves, made of either nitrile, latex, or thick fabric, which fit tightly on the wrist and are capable of forming an airtight seal with your jumpsuit sleeves. Once you are suited up and ready, you may come into contact with the waste. Ensure that you do not use anything other than your hands when collecting the waste, to avoid disturbing it beyond what is absolutely necessary. Raccoons often carry roundworm, and disrupting the waste may dislodge roundworm eggs into the air, increasing the likelihood of you breathing them in and developing a roundworm infection. Once you have collected all the waste, dispose of it in a multi-layered bag, to avoid contaminating the rest of your home.

Diseases associated with raccoon poop
Should you improperly handle any raccoon waste, you risk contracting and spreading the following diseases:

Raccoon roundworm: one roundworm egg ingested or inhaled (yes, inhaled) is enough to cause a roundworm infection, which can lead to nervous system, liver, and heart damage. In severe cases, roundworms can make their way into the eyes, causing blindness.
Leptospirosis: found in raccoon urine, this infection leads to a high fever, headaches, and sickness. In severe cases, it can lead to kidney failure, lung hemorrhage, and death.
Giardia: an infection caused by a single-celled parasite in the Giardia family. This infection causes weight loss and diarrhea in the immunocompromised and can lead to food allergies and irritable bowel syndrome in the long term.
Distemper: affecting mostly animals (and most prominently, dogs), this disease causes rabies-like symptoms and can permanently cripple a dog by causing progressive nervous system damage even if the dog survives the initial disease. However, survival rates among dogs only hover around 50%, which plummets to 20% among puppies.

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