Raccoons are very common in many areas of the United States. Many people will see raccoons scavenging for food in their neighborhoods, and these animals are especially active at night because they are nocturnal creatures.
You might have found raccoons trying to get into your trash cans at one point in time. People also have problems with raccoons looking for food on their decks and patio areas.
No one wants to step out onto their deck and find that it has been ransacked by raccoons. Raccoons can make a mess and they’re also animals that you simply don’t want to encounter.
Read on to learn the best methods for keeping raccoons off of your deck. This should help you to keep the raccoons at bay so that you can use your deck in peace.
Why Do Raccoons Like Decks?
Many raccoons will be attracted to decks because they can provide them with safe spots. Raccoons will sometimes mess with the things on your deck, but they’ll also try to live under your deck so that they can have shelter.
This is going to give raccoons a convenient spot where they can stay warm. It’s also going to be an ideal breeding spot for raccoons, and this is definitely not something that you want to deal with.
They’re going to have easy access to food in many instances as well. Staying under a deck will keep raccoons in close proximity to foods such as nuts, seeds, insects, and even snakes.
Now that you know why raccoons seem to like living under your deck, it’s going to be even more apparent why you should stop this from happening. Raccoons will be a nuisance to you, and you need to do what you can to prevent them from getting near your deck.
Thankfully, there are lots of different things that you can do that will get you good results. Read about the options below to decide which methods will make the most sense for your situation.
1 – Don’t Leave Pet Food Outside
If you have a dog, then you might feed the dog outside sometimes. This is pretty normal, but it can be bad when you decide to leave pet food in the dog’s bowl outdoors.
The pet food is going to be like a beacon that will call out to the local raccoon population. They can smell the pet food and raccoons are all about trying to find the easiest sources of food in the area.
If you continue to leave pet food out like this, then the raccoons will just keep coming by to eat it. Some people don’t even realize that raccoons are eating the food for quite some time because they just assume that the dogs are eating it.
Never leave pet food outside if you want to keep raccoons from coming around. You should only feed your dogs as much food as they need to eat in one sitting, and you can take any excess food back inside to keep it in a sealed container.
2 – Keep Your Trash Cans Secured
Your trash is going to be something else that will attract raccoons to the area. Raccoons can smell the trash and they’ll do their best to try to tip your trash cans over so that they can rip the bags open and eat the leftover food that’s inside.
This is definitely pretty nasty to think about, and it’s going to be disgusting to have to clean up trash that has been torn up by raccoons as well. The best thing that you can do is take the time to secure your trash cans properly.
First, you should try to get garbage cans that aren’t as easy for the raccoons to tip over. Some people even go so far as to chain the garbage cans to a post that has been sunk into the ground with cement.
You don’t necessarily have to do that, but you could buy garbage cans with lids that lock. This should make it so that the raccoons won’t be able to get the lids open no matter what they try to do.
If you have garbage cans that you want to keep using, then you could try buying a lid lock for them. These can basically turn the lids into ones that lock and will keep raccoons out.
It’s wise to try to reduce the scent that comes off of the garbage as much as you can, too. Sometimes you might want to double-bag your garbage if it is particularly stinky.
At the very least, use a good brand of garbage bags that is thick and has odor-reducing properties. It should help to make things less attractive to the local raccoon population.
3 – Keep Raccoons From Being Able to Get Under the Deck
Of course, it’s going to be smart to try to make it so that raccoons won’t be able to get under your deck at all. Depending on how your deck is designed, this is either going to be easy to do or hard to do.
Even if your deck doesn’t have wood going all the way to the ground, it’s possible to secure things to keep creatures from getting under the deck. Some people use chicken wire and steel mesh to keep animals from getting under their decks.
If you do have wood going all the way down, then you want to make sure that things are secure and tight. Repair any weak boards and make it so that raccoons won’t be able to easily just force their way underneath your deck area.
You’ll want to plug any gaps and holes that you find in the deck, too. It might be surprising to hear, but raccoons can actually fit into small openings that are around four inches.
It’s necessary to be vigilant and to try to keep your deck in great shape. If you make the necessary repairs and modifications, then it’ll be far less likely that raccoons will be able to utilize the space under your deck.
4 – Clean Your Yard
Cleaning your yard might help you to deter raccoons from coming around. You might have many things in your yard that can act as food for raccoons.
For instance, you might have trees that will drop certain types of fruits and nuts. If you don’t take the time to pick stuff like this up, then it can wind up being something that will attract raccoons.
Don’t leave things that can act as food for the raccoons sitting around and pick the yard up regularly. If you’re more proactive about cleaning up yard debris, then there will be fewer things for raccoons to eat on your property.
Try to keep an eye out for anything that could be food for a raccoon. You could attempt to remove the food sources to keep raccoons away if you want to.
Some people even go so far as avoiding planting trees and plants that raccoons could use as food. It’s up to you to decide how far you want to take things, though.
It’s also true that getting rid of brush will help to keep raccoons from wanting to come around. Raccoons need places where they can hide and breed, and brush areas will be utilized by raccoons sometimes.
You can make your yard less inviting to raccoons by simply mowing the lawn as often as you can. Keeping the grass short and picking up brush will go a long way toward deterring raccoons from coming around.
You should even try to prune overgrown shrubs so that raccoons won’t be able to use them as hiding spots. Doing more yard work might be a bit exhausting, but it’s for the best when you’re trying to keep raccoons at bay.
5 – Get Rid of Water Sources
As you might expect, water sources are going to be important for raccoons. Raccoons need to have places where they can go to drink water, and you’ll want to eliminate water sources on your property.
Exposed pools and artificial fish ponds will often be good watering holes for raccoons. You don’t have to get rid of your pool when you’re worried about raccoons, but you are going to want to keep it covered.
A good pool cover will be impossible for raccoons to remove and you won’t have to worry. You can also cover artificial ponds and many other types of water features.
You should also try to ensure that you don’t have any leaky water fixtures outdoors. For example, you could have a leaky fixture near your house that raccoons will go to get a drink of water.
Taking a bit of time to fix things like that can really make a difference. Do your best to ensure that raccoons don’t have any convenient spots where they can go to drink water.
6 – Consider Building a Fence
Fences might help to keep raccoons out of your yard as well. Raccoons are good climbers, though, and this means that you’ll need to build a fence in a particular way.
Electric fencing is something that some people utilize to keep raccoons at bay. This might seem cruel, though, and you might not want to run the risk of having something like this on your property.
Placing tall fences that are made out of materials that are hard to climb might help a bit. It’s worth a shot and it could do a decent job of protecting a garden area if you’ve decided to keep growing vegetables.
7 – Bright Lights
Many people will install motion-sensitive lights because they will scare raccoons away. Raccoons like to scavenge for food in the dark, and they’re not going to want to go near areas when they’re lit up.
It’s pretty easy to install motion-sensitive lights, and many people use these for purposes other than scaring away animals. They can also be a good deterrent that will keep would-be thieves at bay.
These lights won’t be overly expensive and they should do a good job of protecting your home. They work well to make raccoons less comfortable getting near your property, and that should make them shy away from trying to live underneath your deck.
8 – Motion-Sensitive Sprinklers
An idea that isn’t too different from the one above is to use motion-sensitive sprinklers in your yard. These types of sprinklers will activate whenever motion is detected, and they’ll blast the area with water.
This is going to scare raccoons away really well, and it’ll keep them from slinking around your property during the night. Some people use these in conjunction with motion-sensitive security lights to get good results.
You might like using this as a deterrent for things besides raccoons as well. As mentioned above, you can use motion-sensitive technology to scare off potential thieves, and it can do a good job of keeping your home safe.
9 – Predator Urine
Another handy trick that people use to try to scare raccoons away from an area involves spraying predator urine. There are many different animals that are considered to be predators to raccoons, and raccoons know that they need to fear these animals.
If raccoons smell a predator’s urine, then they’re going to be wise enough to know to avoid an area. Raccoons like to make things easy for themselves, and they’ll generally shy away from spots that seem like they could be problematic.
You can buy predator urine sprays that contain cougar urine or coyote urine. This type of spray should work well to keep raccoons away from specific places in your yard, and it’ll protect your deck.
Getting Rid of Raccoons
Now that you know how to prevent raccoons from coming near your deck, it’s going to be crucial to think about what to do if they’re already present. You might have raccoons living under your deck right now, and this means that you’ll need to solve that problem.
The first thing you’ll want to do is confirm that you actually have a problem. You’ll have to learn how to figure out if raccoons are present on your property.
Look for Signs of Raccoons
Before moving further, it’s going to be wise to look for signs that raccoons have been in the area. There are actually a number of different signs of raccoon activity that are easy to spot.
One of the biggest ones will be having your garbage cans disturbed. If you have noticed that your trash cans have been knocked over and you see garbage strewn about, then there is a good chance that raccoons are responsible.
You might also hear noise coming from your deck sometimes. If you take the time to listen, then you might hear running noises, hissing, growling, screaming, and even whistling.
Raccoons are actually really annoying because they’re loud at night and they can make a number of different sounds. If you’re hearing noises coming from your deck, then there’s a good chance that raccoons are living under your deck right now.
You could also try to spot raccoon tracks so that you will know where they have been going. It might not be that hard to spot the prints, and they can sometimes look similar to small human prints.
Raccoons will also create burrow holes that can damage structures. You definitely don’t want to take too long to get rid of the raccoons if you notice something like this.
The only safe way to get rid of raccoons on your property is to call a local pest extermination and removal service. Depending on the laws in your area, a pest control company will either be able to come out to exterminate the raccoons or they can remove them from your property.
You might have a preference one way or another for what happens to the raccoons. Some people like to hire pest control services that only use nonlethal methods, but that’s for you to decide.
The important thing to know is that pest control companies have the tools and the expertise to handle the problem. They’re going to be able to get under your deck and capture the raccoons without it being a huge deal.
If you were to try to handle it yourself, then it could wind up being a danger. Raccoons are well-known to carry certain diseases, and it’s not something that most people would be able to handle anyway.
Thankfully, you’re going to be able to get raccoon problems taken care of in a timely fashion when you call professionals. It shouldn’t cost you an exorbitant sum of money, and you’ll just be glad that the issue has been dealt with.
You know what you need to do to keep raccoons from living under your deck. It’s important to keep an eye out for signs of raccoons, but you should also just use good deterrent methods to keep problems from popping up in the first place.
If you have good habits and don’t leave food out that raccoons can get into, then it’ll be less likely that you’ll have problems. When you do encounter issues with raccoons, it’s likely going to be best to call professionals to help you deal with things.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to take the right steps so that raccoons will never be a big problem for you. You know the right things to do to keep your deck safe and it’s just up to you to do them now.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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