Raccoons are cute and intelligent creatures, but they can be a nuisance when they invade your property. If you’ve found these masked intruders frequenting your deck, don’t worry. This comprehensive guide will provide you with various strategies on how to deter raccoons from your deck effectively.
To deter raccoons from your deck, remove all food and water sources, install bright lights, introduce loud noises, and use unpleasant smells like peppermint oil or vinegar. You can also secure the deck with hardware cloth or chicken wire, install motion-activated sprinklers, and use natural or commercial deterrents. If raccoons have already nested, consider professional removal. Always ensure to handle raccoons humanely and ethically.
Why Are Raccoons Attracted to Your Deck?
Raccoons are primarily attracted to your deck and yard due to the availability of food, water, and shelter. They are opportunistic feeders, which means they will eat almost anything, from fruits and nuts to pet food and garbage. Decks often provide the perfect shelter for raccoons, offering a dark, quiet, and safe space for them to nest and breed.
Proven Strategies to Deter Raccoons
Let’s dive into the various methods you can employ to make your deck less appealing to raccoons.
Remove Food and Water Sources
Raccoons are drawn to food and water. Make sure there are no accessible food sources around your deck, such as pet food, bird feeders, or open garbage cans. Use tight-fitting lids on your garbage cans and don’t leave pet food out overnight.
Use Bright Lights
Raccoons are nocturnal and don’t like bright lights. Install outdoor spotlights or motion-activated lights near your deck to make the area less appealing to them. Here are some motion-activated lights that you can consider.
Introduce Loud Noises
An outdoor radio tuned to a talk station can work wonders. The sound of human voices is often enough to scare off these creatures.
Raccoons have a strong sense of smell, and there are several scents that they find repulsive. These include peppermint oil, garlic, vinegar, ammonia, and hot pepper. Soak rags in these substances and place them near the deck.
Secure the Deck
Use hardware cloth or chicken wire to block any openings under the deck that raccoons could use to enter and nest.
Install Motion-Activated Sprinklers
Raccoons don’t like being sprayed with water. Installing motion-activated sprinklers around your deck may help keep them away.
Use Natural Deterrents
Some people have had success using natural deterrents like cayenne pepper, garlic, or predator urine to repel raccoons. However, be aware that these methods may need to be reapplied after rain.
Commercial Products to Deter Raccoons
There are commercial products available that are specifically designed to deter raccoons. These include ultrasonic animal repellents, solar-powered ultrasonic raccoon repellers, and commercial repellents in powder or granular form containing coyote urine or cayenne pepper.
When Raccoons Have Already Made a Home Under Your Deck
If a raccoon has already made a home under your deck, cut off food sources, use humane harassment techniques, install a one-way door, seal off access points, and maintain a clean and secure yard.
Legal and Ethical Considerations
Always remember to handle raccoons in a humane and ethical manner. In most states, raccoons are protected furbearers with established seasons for hunting and trapping. If you need to remove raccoons from your property, it is advisable to seek professional help from wildlife control experts.
Deterrence is often the best strategy when dealing with raccoons. By making your deck less appealing to these creatures and using a combination of the methods mentioned above, you can effectively keep raccoons away from your deck. Remember, consistency is key, and if all else fails, don’t hesitate to call in the professionals.
Frequently Asked Questions
What other animals might be deterred by these methods?
While this guide focuses on raccoons, many of these methods can also deter other types of wildlife that may be attracted to your deck, such as squirrels, opossums, and skunks.
Will the smells repulsive to raccoons bother my pets?
While scents like peppermint oil, garlic, vinegar, ammonia, and hot pepper are not harmful to pets, they might find them unpleasant. It’s best to place these substances in areas where your pets don’t usually go.
How often should I reapply natural deterrents?
Natural deterrents like cayenne pepper, garlic, or predator urine should be reapplied every few days or after rainfall, as they can be washed away or lose potency over time.
Can I trap and relocate a raccoon myself?
While it’s technically possible to trap and relocate a raccoon yourself, it’s not advised due to legal and safety considerations. In many areas, it’s illegal to trap and relocate wildlife without a permit. Raccoons can also carry diseases like rabies, so it’s safer to hire a professional.
Are there any other commercial products that can deter raccoons?
Yes, there are many other commercial products available that can deter raccoons. These include electronic repellents that emit high-frequency sounds, as well as repellents that use predator scents like fox or coyote urine. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.