There are many homeowners who want to learn how to get rid of raccoons under their deck. These critters might seem harmless at first, but they’re a major pain once they’ve decided to become unwelcome tenants!
This guide will teach you how to get rid of raccoons that are living under your deck, and how to keep them from coming back.
Table of Contents
- Why It’s Important To Get Rid Of Raccoons Under The Deck
- How To Get Rid Of Raccoons Your Deck
- The Importance Of Being Careful
- Why Trapping Should Be Your Last Resort
- How To Prevent Them From Coming Back
- Closing Thoughts
Why It’s Important To Get Rid Of Raccoons Under The Deck
Raccoons are one of the most common backyard pests to annoy homeowners. From the farthest reaches of rural America to picturesque suburbia, these little trash bandits have a knack for invading our backyards and making themselves at home in the most inopportune places.
Despite their widespread presence, addressing issues as soon as possible is paramount. This is especially true when you find raccoons living under your deck!
These nocturnal mammals are far too unsafe to be living that close to you and your family. Raccoons spread trash, disease, and parasites. Not only that, but they have the potential to be violent (more on that later).
Imagine the horrors of a sudden attack on your kids or pets just because they accidentally disturbed a raccoon sleeping under your deck. Raccoons are manageable when they visit your backyard in the dead of night. But when they set up shop underneath the deck that you use daily? That’s a game you don’t want to play!
How To Get Rid Of Raccoons Your Deck
Whether you find a small family of raccoons or a single adult using your deck as shelter, taking action is necessary. Fortunately, there are many ways to drive them off safely.
Here are some tried and true ways to get rid of raccoons under your deck.
1. Light Up The Area
Raccoons are nocturnal and wait for the cover of night to scavenge for food. During the day, they spend most of their time sleeping. That’s why your deck is such an appealing spot to call home. It’s dark and offers plenty of shelter from the sun.
One of the best ways to get rid of raccoons under your deck is to make the area seem unsafe and inhospitable. Shine a bright light through the den’s entrance to illuminate the space underneath.
Quick Tip: You can set up a mechanic’s light or install a lantern. Whatever you do, make sure that you’re using a fire-safe light. It’s a good idea to install it in a way that’s tamper-proof as well.
Shine the light at all hours of the day! Even when the sun is beating down from above, you want to make sure that the raccoon’s living space is lit up below the deck.
The light will force the raccoon to vacate and look elsewhere for shelter.
2. Get Rid Of Water & Food Sources
Like all pests, raccoons enter your property because they’re looking for food. If they’re sticking around and living under your deck, it probably means that they have everything they need to survive.
One of the best things you can do in this situation is eliminate all sources of food and water. Take a look around your backyard and consider all possible attractors. Getting rid of everything can be a tall order, but it’s necessary.
Raccoons will not hesitate to eat trash, dog food, bugs, and anything else we might find unpalatable. So, you must be extra vigilant in making your property as raccoon-proof as possible.
If you feed your pets outside, empty the bowls and bring them inside once the sun goes down. If midday rainfall fills up buckets and empty plant pots, make the rounds to empty them all! It’s a good idea to secure bird feeders and trash cans, too.
Quick Tip: Don’t forget about the “natural” food sources! Raccoons like to eat nuts, fruits, snails, and bugs as well. Make sure to harvest any fruiting plants and pick up any nuts or acorns that fall from trees.
Adopting a regular pest control routine can also eliminate any other pests that raccoons view as food.
3. Turn Up The Volume
Another great idea to get rid of raccoons under your deck is to make a ruckus! If you’ve ever stumbled across a raccoon in the middle of the night, you know how sensitive they are to loud sounds.
Why not use that to your advantage?
Consider installing an old radio or wireless speaker on your deck. Rather than turn on music, tune it to talk radio. Raccoons that are living under your deck won’t worry too much about music, but they will flee from the sound of humans talking.
Talk radio makes them think that humans are in the area. As a result, they’ll deem it unsafe.
Turn the volume up as loud as you can without disturbing your neighbors. That way, all raccoons in the vicinity will hear it!
4. Make The Area Smell Bad
Finally, you can attack the raccoon’s sense of smell.
Raccoons are familiar with all kinds of scents. They have no problem rummaging through stinky trash. However, these mammals do have their limits.
Ultra pungent odors like apple cider vinegar and ammonia can do a lot to turn raccoons away. Those smells are like a downright assault on their noses. Plus, they’re capable of irritating the raccoon’s respiratory system.
Soak some rags in the liquid of your choice. Then, place the rags in a bag. The bag will keep the rags safe and prevent the raccoons from trying to discard the smell.
Poke some holes in the bag and hang it up under your deck. The scent can permeate throughout the area and make it a no-go zone for any raccoons living under your deck.
Quick Tip: If you have pets or young kids, go for apple cider vinegar instead of ammonia. Vinegar is much safer and won’t create unwanted side effects if your loved ones get near it.
The Importance Of Being Careful
There’s a good chance that you’ll have to adopt several of the techniques we went over to get rid of raccoons under your deck once and for all.
But whatever you do, make sure to exercise great caution. Raccoons might seem innocent and cute at first, but they can pose a significant health risk to you, your family, and your pets.
These pests are known carriers of disease. They can easily transmit salmonella, E. Coli, Giardia, Listeriosis, and more. Raccoons can also spread parasites.
Those diseases can spread to both humans and pets. If you have a dog, it can also come down with distemper or coonhound paralysis.
Raccoons are one of the biggest carriers of the rabies virus as well. With a single bite, they can spread the potentially fatal disease to your dog, cat, or child.
Most of the diseases raccoons carry will spread through bites. In most cases, these pests will flee when disturbed. However, some will resort to biting if they feel it’s the only way out of a sticky situation.
Raccoons are feisty fighters with sharp teeth and even sharper claws. They’re surprisingly agile fighters and can undoubtedly do a lot of damage when push comes to shove.
Even if they don’t end up biting you or your loved one, diseases can prosper. Raccoons can spread their filth through urine and feces. Because they use communal defecation spots, your deck can quickly turn into a hotbed of parasites and disease.
On top of all that, they can carry other pests! Fleas, ticks, and worms are all common with raccoons.
When dealing with raccoons under your deck, exercise caution and wear all the protective gear you need to stay safe.
Why Trapping Should Be Your Last Resort
For some people, trapping is the first thought that comes to mind when it comes to getting rid of raccoons under their deck. Trapping can be a suitable option in some cases. However, it should only be considered a last resort.
There are a few reasons why you should try other options before resorting to trapping.
First, trapping can be dangerous to both you and the animal. Even with humane trap designs, it’s easy for raccoons to get hurt. Pair that with being unable to escape, and raccoons will continue to harm themselves in the trapping device.
Once you get them successfully trapped, these pests will do everything in their power to get out. They’ll thrash around, use their nimble fingers to fiddle with locks, and attempt to bite anything that gets near. Clever trap designs can make things safer for you, but there’s still a risk of harm involved.
Finally, trapping could also separate mothers and babies. Oftentimes, raccoons nest under decks because it offers safety from would-be predators and the elements. That lowly raccoon hiding under your deck could be mothering a small family without you even realizing it!
If you trap the mother, trouble will ensue. Not only will the mother panic even more in an attempt to get out, but the babies will likely die. Baby raccoons cannot fend for themselves.
Even if you try to turn them over to animal control, there’s virtually no chance of rehabilitation. Raccoons are considered nuisance animals in most states, and orphaned babies fall into the same category.
Relocating animals of any age involves some risks. Both adults and separated babies often die when dropped into a new environment.
For this reason, getting rid of raccoons under your deck by driving them away is considered a more ethical course of action. Using some of the methods we discussed earlier, you can deter raccoons and push them to look elsewhere for shelter.
Quick Tip: Many raccoons have multiple backup nests they can take their babies to. Ethical raccoon harassment improves the chance of survival and is a safer alternative to trapping.
How To Prevent Them From Coming Back
The battle’s not over once you’ve gotten rid of the raccoons living under your deck. There’s a good chance that more will utilize that space if given an opportunity.
To ensure that you don’t have to deal with that headache again in the future, here are some things you can do to keep raccoons out for good!
Seal Up Trash
Accessible garbage is one of the biggest attractors for raccoons. Standard bins are no match for these clever bandits! They’re perfectly capable of removing lids and getting to the goods inside.
There’s no getting around keeping trash in your backyard. However, you can make it harder for raccoons to get in.
Keep your garbage bins as far away from your deck as possible. Then, invest in some extra security. You can upgrade to containers with secure latches or pick up lid straps. Either way, that added protection will do a lot to keep raccoons away, resulting in fewer of them attempting to live under your deck.
Maintain Your Yard
Another thing you should do is stay on top of yard maintenance. An unkempt backyard is just inviting raccoons to come and nest.
Pick up yard debris regularly, and don’t let any leaf or twig piles get too big. Like we mentioned earlier, you should also pick up any fruits or nuts that fall from trees.
Keeping your property tidy will eliminate all food, water, and nesting opportunities. As a result, most raccoons will look elsewhere to live.
Don’t Keep Food Outside
This should go without saying, but never leave food outside. Clean up any uneaten pet food and bring any storage containers inside.
Clean up grilling areas and make sure any compost piles are well-protected. The goal is to make your backyard and deck as unappealing as possible. Leaving food out will only have the opposite effect and make your property a haven for raccoons.
Keep the area food-free, and the raccoons will have no reason to start living under your deck long-term.
Try An Electric Fence
If you’ve gotten rid of all the raccoons under your deck and still have more looking to take their place, you might want to consider getting an electric fence. These simple accessories are a fantastic choice if you have a prized garden, tranquil koi pond, or lively chicken coop.
All of those backyard features will attract raccoons. An electric fence will establish boundaries and teach these pests to never come by and live under your deck again.
Quick Tip: Electric fences are readily available. Make sure to choose one that has a safe voltage for small pests like raccoons. You want the barrier to deliver a memorable shock, not kill them!
Keep Raccoons Away from Bird Feeders
Your backyard’s most beloved feature could be the very thing that’s drawing raccoons to the area (resulting in them deciding to live under your deck). Raccoons love bird feeders! They’ll quickly deplete the seeds and return to take any refills.
While many choose to bring their feeders in every day, there are other ways to deter raccoons.
Invest in tall poles that are difficult for raccoons to climb. Baffles are available as well to stop these pests in their tracks.
Whether you choose a large baffle or a wrap-around deterrent, make sure it’s rated for raccoons. These critters will get around smaller squirrel baffles without missing a beat.
Don’t forget to consider positioning! Put the bird feeder in an open area without any nearby trees or fences. That way, the raccoons can’t use structures to get to the feeder.
Now that you know how to get rid of raccoons under your deck, all that’s left is to put some of these methods into action!
As long as you follow our advice and stick to the instructions above, you should have no problem reclaiming your deck from these creatures. But if you have any questions, feel free to ask us!