Raccoons look adorable, but they can pose a lot of problems. The little trash pandas are pretty clever, and when clever critters learn to adapt to suburban and city life, the clash between human civilization and nature creates all sorts of problems. Besides eating human leftovers, raccoons can injure pets and homes by moving inside. Home attics tend to attract all sorts of pests, and raccoons are one of the more dangerous. Not only are they larger than rodents, and thus more of a concern when pets are involved, but there are also health risks for the home occupants to take into account. Also visit atticnoises.com to learn more about different wildlife species that can reside in your attic.
One of the most obvious health hazards is related to raccoon droppings. Everybody poops, after all, and that includes pests. Droppings are often one of the most obvious signs you have pests, though not the only one. As for raccoon droppings, they carry roundworms, and those roundworms can spread to people and pets. The worm eggs can survive for years in the right environments, like poop. This makes cleaning up after raccoons incredibly important as well as making sure they don’t settle back into the attic once removed. As for the roundworms, they can cause a multitude of symptoms, such as nausea, fatigue, skin irritations, coordination and muscle control problems, an enlarged liver, blindness, and can even cause people to enter a coma. Worms are in general bad for pets, too, but these worms are especially dangerous for everyone in the home. If you do find evidence of raccoons in the attic, first make sure to call pest control experts like Gray Brothers Wildlife LLC.
Roundworms aren’t the only danger from raccoon droppings, either. They can also carry a bacteria called Giardiasis. This bacterium is actually pretty common, not only for people but dogs. Basically, it’s the bacteria in unfiltered water that causes diarrhea. It can affect pets as well, and is a well known danger for dogs as well as people who don’t boil or filter water when out in the wild. The bacteria settles in the intestines and can prove tricky to remove for those unaware of its presence. Though perhaps not as dangerous as the roundworms, it’s still an unpleasant hazard that needs to be prevented.
As if the bacteria and worms aren’t enough, another danger of raccoon droppings is the poop itself. As it dries and crumbles, the poop gets mixed in with other dirt and dander. Attics tend to be important for ventilation flow and transfer, so all that dust can get into your vents and spread around the house. That includes the raccoon droppings, or any other pest droppings or mites that have built up in the attic if not regularly cleaned and inspected. So not only are there bacterial and parasitic concerns, but also general lung health. The poop in the air can spread diseases, certainly, but simply breathing in all that dried crap, literally, can cause respiratory issues as well.
There are other diseases raccoons can carry, too. Leptospirosis is passed via raccoon feces and urine, and can cause severe problems just like the roundworms. Along with nausea, diarrhea, headaches and muscle aches, it can also cause kidney and liver failure. Just like other diseases raccoons can spread, Leptospirosis can affect people and their pets.
Raccoons can also carry salmonella. Though generally associated with undercooked eggs and poultry, animals can also carry and transmit the disease. Like the previously mentioned diseases and parasites, salmonella is carried in raccoon poop. For an animal that likes to wash its hands so often, their feces is incredibly disease laden.
Of course, like other warm blooded animals, raccoons have the ability to transmit rabies. Unlike the other diseases mentioned, rabies is transmitted when an infected animal bites or scratches someone. Rabies is extremely dangerous to people and pets. It can, if left untreated, lead to death. The disease is deadly to humans and their pets, and needs to be treated seriously and swiftly if suspected. This is one reason why removal of raccoons and other pests should be performed by properly trained and equipped experts, as the raccoons, if cornered, will defend themselves.
Besides the raccoons and their poop, it’s important to remember the dangers from mites, ticks, and fleas. These animals can carry diseases, too, and they will spread them freely if given the chance. So if fleas feed on an infected raccoon and then hop off to your cat, dog, or even you, the diseases spread along with them.
Between the worms, bacteria, parasites, and rabies, having raccoons in the attic present multiple health risks to people and their pets. That’s why it’s so important to make sure they can’t get inside in the first place. Take precautions and hire a professional for humane raccoon removal. Do not try to remove them yourself, and make sure to clean the attic once the raccoons are gone. A lot of pest removal companies will clean up after the raccoons, but if not make sure the job gets done. Fleas and ticks might hop off during the removal process, and their poop obviously doesn’t leave with the raccoons. Preventing them access to the attic and making sure to clean up after them is vital to home and pet safety.
Raccoons are cute, but they are also clever and, like other animals who move into your home uninvited, they can carry a multitude of diseases and parasites. Those diseases can be very dangerous for everyone in your home. If you suspect raccoons are inside or recently had them inside, make sure to take the proper steps to ensure you and yours don’t end up with any of the mentioned illnesses.