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Home » Blog » Raccoon Poop vs. Possum Poop: How to Tell the Difference

Raccoon Poop vs. Possum Poop: How to Tell the Difference

Raccoon Poop vs. Possum Poop: How to Tell the Difference

Raccoons and possums, with their inquisitive natures and nocturnal habits, often find their way into our backyards and neighborhoods. While encountering these wildlife neighbors can be intriguing, it's vital to understand how to distinguish between their droppings for various reasons, including your safety, understanding their presence, and protecting your property.

At Critter Stop, we have prepared this guide to help you identify what kind of animal is visiting your property. Check this out and if you have any doubts, let us know and our seasoned team will be there to help you!

Size and Shape

Raccoon Poop: Imagine a cylindrical scat, about 3 to 5 inches long, with slightly rounded ends. It may appear to taper a bit at both ends, resembling small, dark, tubular segments.

Possum Poop: In contrast, possum droppings are smaller, more elongated, and sleeker in appearance. They resemble tiny, dark-colored cylinders, usually measuring around 1 to 2 inches in length.

raccoon poop
Raccoons' poop is larger than opossums' feces

Composition and Color

Raccoon Scat: Raccoon scat often reveals a wealth of information about their diet. It can contain remnants of their varied menu, such as berry seeds, insect exoskeletons, and small bones. This gives it a dark brown to black color, primarily due to their omnivorous diet.

Possum Scat: Possum scat is usually smoother in texture and lighter in color, typically a medium brown. It can contain traces of fruits and insects, reflecting their dietary preferences.

raccoon droppings in attic

Location and Habitat

Raccoon Habits: When we have provided our raccoon removal services, we have found that they prefer to defecate near water sources, such as streams or ponds. They often defecate in the same area, called a "latrines." Once a raccoon poops in the area once, they are very likely to use the same spot again and again.

Possum Territories: Possums, on the other hand, are more solitary creatures. They scatter their droppings throughout their territory, which might not follow any specific pattern or location. Because most people do not have scat examples to compare side by side, the single best way to distinguish between raccoon poop and possum poop is if it is concentrated in one area or spread seemingly at random within an area.

Raccoon Poop Example:

This is a customer's attic in Dallas - Fort Worth that had raccoons in the attic. As you can see, they concentrated a significant amount of poop in one single location.

raccoon poop in attic

Possum Poop Example:

For the Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex customer below, similarly sized droppings were scattered randomly throughout the attic. While the total amount of droppings was similar, their location was very different.

Opossum poop in attic

Scat Identification Techniques

We have provided our wildlife removal services hundreds of times in the Dallas - Fort Worth area, and we always tell homeowners that distinguishing between raccoon and possum scat is vital for various reasons, but it's essential to exercise caution. Here are some tips:

  • Wear Gloves: When handling any wildlife scat, it's crucial to wear gloves to minimize the risk of exposure to potential pathogens.
  • Visual Inspection: Raccoon scat's larger size and the presence of visible contents like seeds and insect parts make it relatively easy to identify. Possum scat, being smaller and smoother, can be more challenging to differentiate.

Health Risks

Both raccoon and possum scat may contain parasites and harmful bacteria. It is essential to avoid direct contact with either type and wash your hands thoroughly if accidental contact occurs. Proper disposal of waste and maintaining hygiene is crucial when dealing with wildlife scat.

Diet and Clues

01_opossum poop images

Raccoon Diet: Raccoons have a diverse diet that includes fruits, insects, small mammals, and even human food scraps. This diversity often leaves a signature in their scat's contents.

Possum Diet: Possums primarily feed on insects, small rodents, and plant matter, which influences the composition of their droppings.

Frequency and Patterns

Raccoon Scat: Raccoons tend to defecate regularly, often leaving scat trails in areas they frequent. This can be particularly helpful in identifying their presence.

Possum Scat: Due to their solitary nature, possums scatter their poop randomly, which might not exhibit any specific pattern.

Garden and Yard Damage

03_opossum poop pictures

Based on our experience, both raccoons and possums can wreak havoc on gardens and yards while searching for food. Recognizing their presence through scat can help address potential issues promptly, potentially preventing further damage.

Pest Control

Preventing raccoon and possum infestations involves taking proactive measures such as securing trash cans, removing potential food sources, and sealing entry points into your home. If you suspect an infestation, it's best to contact a professional pest control service for safe and effective removal.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Before attempting to handle raccoons or possums, be aware of local laws and regulations. It's essential to approach these situations ethically and consider humane approaches to dealing with wildlife.

Cleaning and Disinfection

If you need to clean up raccoon or possum scat, take safety precautions seriously. Wear protective gear and follow proper cleaning and disinfection procedures to minimize health risks.

Common FAQs

1. Is it safe to handle raccoon or possum scat without protection?

  • Handling any wildlife scat without proper protection is not recommended due to potential health risks. Always wear gloves and exercise caution.

2. What should I do if I find raccoon or possum scat in my yard?

  • Contact your local wildlife authorities or a pest control professional for guidance on safe removal and prevention.

3. Can I use raccoon or possum scat as garden fertilizer?

  • Using wild animal scat as fertilizer is not advisable due to potential health risks and the presence of parasites.

4. Are raccoons and possums dangerous to humans?

  • While raccoons and possums are generally not aggressive, they can carry diseases. Avoid direct contact and do not approach them.

5. What are some humane ways to deter raccoons and possums from my property?

  • Implement deterrents like motion-activated lights or sprinklers, secure trash cans, and remove food sources to discourage these animals from visiting your property.

Conclusion

In summary, understanding the differences between raccoon poop and possum poop is crucial for your safety and property protection. By following the tips and guidelines mentioned here, you can coexist peacefully with these fascinating wildlife neighbors and address any potential concerns effectively.

If you need any professional guidance, our experts from Critter Stop are just a click away! You can also call us at (214) 234-2616 to schedule a free inspection to help you discover if the poop that you found belongs to a raccoon, an opossum, or another wildlife animal. Don't take any risk handling those feces, call our team now and let the professional handle this situation!

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Lee Gorman
Lee Gorman
13:50 21 Nov 22
I’d give a 10 star review if I could! We had a great experience with Critter Stop. Everyone I dealt was friendly, professional, and reassuring. Phillip was very helpful and knowledgeable about the work he was doing. He walked me around the entire house to make sure I saw and understood the services he provided. He was also really nice and answered all my questions — he is exactly the type of person that should be interacting with customers.I love the fact that they will come back for up to 1 year after installation if any problems occur — this shows me they stand behind their work.The owner was great too, he personally came to my house and walked me through their offering. I recommend critter stop to anyone and everyone!
Susan Casey
Susan Casey
14:53 15 Nov 22
Critter Stop is a fantastic business! Everyone involved is extremely professional and very easy to communicate with. Chisam, the owner, did a great job of explaining the process to get the squirrels out of my attic during the initial free estimate. The exclusion crew who did all of the initial work was fabulous. The crew consisted of Phillip, Nick and Corey who arrived promptly when they said they would. They are happy, positive employees. Everyone is very polite and patient in explaining their work and answering questions. They came back several times to check the traps and finish it off with the fogging. Lester was very good about following up to schedule each trap check with me, and the office staff who took care of the billing was very efficient. Critter Stop is a well run company with honest, trustworthy employees! Thank you to all of you who worked hard to make my attic critter free and for the peace of mind that you guarantee your work. Great to know I can call them if for some reason a squirrel figures out a way to get back in!
Karen Eckholdt
Karen Eckholdt
14:54 22 Sep 22
Critter Stop has made this project easy and extremely professional from start to finish! They are very detailed and competent from start to finish and know so much about their business. They made a problem easy for us and at a reasonable cost. We would be happy to recommend this company and their owners and staff to anyone.
Aaron Echols
Aaron Echols
13:51 03 Aug 22
The guys at Critter Stop responded quickly, were very friendly, and gave us an honest estimate of what we might need. They explained why some items on other quotes were or were not necessary. They communicated well to get us scheduled, and did the work well and quickly. Great service at a fair and competitive price.
Jacob Scribner
Jacob Scribner
19:23 27 Jul 22
Brandon and his other coworker Gavin came to install insulation in my attic. I am very grateful for the hard work and professionalism. My house feels a lot better with the insulation installed. 5 star review. Cory Leach was also very nice and helpful. He came to my house to do another job and was very attentive and professional. Thank you Corey and thank you Critter Stop for helping me.The owner very polite and helpful, I’m glad I found this company to help me.
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