Mammals often use latrine sites for defecation, yet little is known about patterns of latrine use in many common species such as raccoons (Procyon lotor). Because raccoon latrines are important foci for the transmission of raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis), documenting metrics of raccoon latrine use may have public health implications. Although some studies have provided evidence that multiple raccoons visit single latrine sites, exact latrine visitation patterns of raccoons have never been documented. We monitored raccoon latrine usage using proximity-logging collars placed at 15 latrine sites. We found that latrine sites were visited by multiple raccoons (range 1–7), and raccoons visited as many as six latrines during a 2-wk period. No sex differences were found in the number of latrines visited or time spent during visits. We posit that the use of multiple latrine sites by raccoons may lead to the pattern that rates of B. procyonis infection at latrines are greater than infection rates found in individual raccoon fecal samples. This in turn could lead to greater transmission of B. procyonis to paratenic hosts. Our results support the conclusion that raccoon latrines can be major foci for the infection and spread of B. procyonis.
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Vol. 50 • No. 2