How to Get Rid of Raccoons Under Deck? - Backyard Advisor (2023)

Raccoons look so cute in pictures. Their wide eyes and bandit’s face make them seem irresistible. Looks are deceiving as raccoons have sharp teeth and claws, can injure pets or children, cause destroy areas around your home, and can carry rabies. They are highly defensive with humans and can’t be tamed like wild squirrels and rabbits.

There are ways on how to get rid of raccoons under deck. You can call animal control or a pest control company that will trap them. You can change the environment so they leave voluntarily. You can trap them yourself but that is ill-advised.

Read further to find out why raccoons are living under your deck so you can develop a good solution to the problem.

Decks Made Great Nests

Raccoons look for safe areas to nest in the spring to have babies, or as they are called kits. Underneath your deck probably appears like a resort to a raccoon. It’s cool, dark, shaded, and secluded. It is probably also close to both food and water as you may have trash cans a garden hose, and water features nearby.

There may be some added treats in that you leave some food stuck to your grill or open trash after a family barbecue. Raccoons know how to make the most of a party.

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How to Know If a Raccoon Is Living Under the Deck?

How to Get Rid of Raccoons Under Deck? - Backyard Advisor (1)

Raccoons can be sneaky creatures but you will see signs if one, or a family, is living under your deck or around your property. One of the first signs is shredded newspaper or clothing around your property.

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Raccoon moms are gatherers by nature and they will steal from the trash or other places to create warm nests for their kits. You will see the signs of this.

Another sign is raccoon paw prints and droppings around the yard, driveway, or deck. Raccoons will patrol at night so you may get several automatic security alerts or outside lights coming on automatically. You may hear strange noises at night like high-pitched screeches, scratching, or whining.

The tell-tale sign of raccoons is trash bins tipped over or trash scattered all over. They can also chew electrical wiring, dig holes near fencing and even gnaw around windows looking for a warm place.

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What to Do?

Every home expert says the first thing to do is speak to a wildlife professional about your problem. Be sure any wildlife removal company you use is licensed and monitored. Also, ask about their use of humane practices.

However, most advise that you should only use removal as a last resort. There are other methods.

The Timing

Understand that raccoon families don’t nest permanently in a spot. The mother stays there with her young until they can be moved, which is typically late summer. If you can live with them that long, it would be best to wait until they move on and then take corrective action to prevent their return.

How to Get Rid of Raccoons Under Deck? - Backyard Advisor (2)
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Urging Raccoons to Leave

You can encourage the raccoons to leave sooner by implementing changes that make it uncomfortable for them to stay. Remove the food and water sources. Find a way to secure your trash cans and turn off your water feature.

Raccoons hate noise and light. You can find a way to make the space under the deck “noisy” and more lit up. Placing a wireless speaker aimed at it with rock music and putting a spotlight aimed at the space all night ma work.

You can also change the smell. Raccoons, like all wildlife, have great senses of smells. Soak some rags in apple cider vinegar, ammonia, or other vinegar. Put the rags near the den’s entrance.

Scent deterrents don’t always work and can be ineffective when used alone. They are more effective when a part of combined efforts that will urge the raccoons to move on.

How to Get Rid of Raccoons Under Deck? - Backyard Advisor (3)

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Why Trapping Isn’t a Good Idea?

Most experts discourage trapping for a few reasons. First, trapping a raccoon is illegal in many parts of the country. Second, trapping the mother and relocating her will ensure her babies will die. Three, trapping is stressful on the animal and is considered to be the least humane option.

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It’s time to prevent a raccoon return once they are gone. That means sealing off your deck with a sturdy mesh, wooden planks, or fencing. Remember, they can chew through a thin mesh so make sure it’s sturdy.

Check your fence for holes or cracks and replace. Make sure other entry points, like sheds or underneath sheds, are blocked. Cover or dump water sources at night. Dump bins that collect rainwater and anything from an old tire to a bucket that collects water.

This will help reduce the mosquito population over the summer too.

Removing a raccoon’s water source also means covering or turning off your water feature at night. You may want to cover your pond or other freshwater sources at night if you can.

The most important thing is to not give them access to food. Make sure your garbage is inaccessible, especially at night. Keep it sealed and even put a cinder block on the lid so raccoons can’t open it. This is the number one thing you can do to discourage raccoons from visiting your property.

Don’t leave any pet food out. Remember, pet food can be for anyone who wants it and that includes a hungry raccoon.

Pay attention to your bird feeders. Raccoons will take seeds out of feeders if they can climb up to them. That makes bird feeders in trees, on porches, or wide poles vulnerable. Make sure bird feeders are on top of thin poles that raccoons can’t climb.

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Are raccoons dangerous?

Raccoons are wild animals so they are unpredictable. They can bite and will attack. They can carry rabies, roundworm, salmonella, tetanus, and listeriosis. They also can create a lot of damage.

Are male raccoons with the mother and babies?

Usually no. Nests are created by the mother and she lives there with the babies until they are old enough to travel to a new location.

How do I keep raccoons out of my garden?

Several things will deter raccoons from an area including wood ashes, a ground-up mix of garlic and chili powder spread around the area. Sometimes, leaving dog hair or dog urine around an area will deter raccoons from hanging out.

As with under the deck, leaving a radio tuned to a rock station and lights in the garden at night may make it uninviting to raccoons.

What do raccoons eat?

Raccoons are scavengers so they will eat anything including fresh eggs laid by chickens. They like apples, pears, peaches, potatoes, sweet corn, and peas.

This is why it’s important to protect your garden and any chicken coops from raccoons. They will kill chickens to get to the eggs.

Can raccoons dig under a fence?

Yes, raccoons can dig under fences and barriers around decks. That’s why barriers need to go at least six inches into the soil to prevent raccoons from getting in.

What creative ways are there to scare raccoons away?

One of the easiest things you can do is put out some pinwheels and streamers around the raccoon nest. They don’t like the reflection or movement.

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What can I put on my deck to keep raccoons away? ›

To make your yard and deck less inviting to raccoons, do the following: Remove trash bags and other edibles, including food waste used in compost. Seal and lock garbage cans with padlocks or heavy-duty bungee cords. Clean up fallen fruit or nuts and dispose of them in locking trash bins.

How do you scare away raccoons? ›

How to Deter Raccoons: 9 DIY Control Methods
  1. Add a motion-activated sprinkler. ...
  2. Use ultrasound deterrent devices. ...
  3. Secure trash cans. ...
  4. Bag your trash in raccoon-repelling trash bags. ...
  5. Make your own raccoon repellent. ...
  6. Use ammonia. ...
  7. Remove pet and bird food. ...
  8. Use fences to protect high-interest areas.
Apr 25, 2022

How do you get rid of raccoons around your house? ›

15 Tips on How to Get Rid of Raccoons Fast [Humanely]
  1. Install a motion activated sprinkler. ...
  2. Test out an ultrasound animal repeller. ...
  3. Use rodent repelling trash bags. ...
  4. DIY Spicy raccoon repeller. ...
  5. Use strategic placement of ammonia. ...
  6. Secure the trash can. ...
  7. Remove food sources. ...
  8. Raccoon proof your bird feeders.

Will raccoons eventually leave on their own? ›

For many people, raccoons are a frequent uninvited guest. And they never seem to leave! In truth, raccoons have adapted to living alongside their human neighbors. In general, raccoons won't leave your property on their own include because they've found safety, food and shelter near your home.

How do I get animals out from under my deck? ›

For decks and porches, you can use decorative lattice with some wire mesh behind it. Just be sure to bury the bottom of the barrier so animals are unable to sneak underneath it. For sheds and other buildings, fill in any burrow holes with dirt. Then, spread animal repellent in the area a few times each year.

What smells do raccoons hate? ›

Since raccoons have a strong sense of smell, which they use to find convenient food sources, one can take advantage of this feature by using scents they hate. Hot pepper, garlic, peppermint oil, onion, and Epsom salt are a few scents used to repel raccoons.

Why are raccoons coming on my deck? ›

What Attracts Raccoons to your Deck. Raccoons love your deck because it keeps them warm and provides a safe place for breeding. Besides that, raccoons need food to survive. And staying under the deck just gives them easy access to food sources around your home.

Does Irish Spring soap keep raccoons away? ›

Many of the same smells that deter deer, such as capsaicin and mint, also repel raccoons. In general, Irish Spring soap can be an effective raccoon repellent. For the most part, you'll never see a raccoon munching in your garden.

Do wind chimes scare raccoons? ›

Wind chimes are a passive noise deterrent to keep raccoons as well as other unwelcome critters away.

What attracts raccoons to your yard? ›

Shed, garage, or doghouse. Main Attraction: Undisturbed shelter safe from predators is highly desirable to raccoons raising their young, and the protected spaces inside sheds, garages, and unoccupied doghouses are ideal for them. Pet food or birdseed stored in or around these places can also lure raccoons to the area.

Will a porch light keep raccoons away? ›

But, will porch lights keep raccoons away? Yes, in most cases, porch lights keep raccoons away. Raccoons are nocturnal animals, which means they can be very sensitive to light.

How small of a hole can a raccoon get through? ›

In most cases, a raccoon needs only four inches to squeeze through — think roughly the diameter of a small piece of fruit. Many property owners believe they should spot a hole that size, especially if it is around their attic or garage, but raccoons are intelligent and capable animals.

Where do raccoons live during the day? ›

During the day, raccoons find shelter in all environments. In urban areas, raccoons sleep in abandoned cars, dumpsters, and sewer drains, but hide in attics, garages, and underneath decks in suburban areas. In the wilderness, they live sleep in tree hollows, under rocks, and vacant animal dens.

Do raccoons return to the same place every year? ›

Another reason you want to avoid having these animals give birth on your property is that the following year, the female babies will return to the same location to have their litter. And each subsequent year that follows the young females will attempt to return.

What month do raccoons have babies? ›

Baby raccoons are called kits, and they are typically born in early spring between March and April, but if a mother's first litter does not survive she may give birth to a second litter as late as June.

How long does it take to get rid of raccoons? ›

This will take about 8-10 weeks if you do nothing and let nature run its course. 8-10 weeks sounds like a long time to have raccoons running loose over your head. I would agree, I have seen things go very badly in that time.

Do raccoons live under decks? ›

Decks are common summer dens sites for raccoons

Underground dens are generally only used for short periods of times. By the end of summer the babies are independent and disperse from the family. Mothers will move babies between dens during nesting season. However, raccoons may become aggressive if they feel threatened.

What's living under my deck? ›

Animals from raccoons, opossum, woodchucks, skunks, rats, chipmunks, and mice are opportunistic creatures that like to hide or burrow underneath your deck, porch, or shed due to colder weather or spring when nesting is needed for birth.

How do I block area under my deck? ›

Keep animals OUT from under your shed, porch, and deck - YouTube

What do raccoons not like to walk on? ›

Raccoons have sensitive feet. Because of this, they stay clear of walking on prickly plants. They will certainly avoid squashes like pumpkin. They will also avoid oriental poppies, cucumbers, “Kentucky Wonder” pole beans, and globe thistle.

What do racoons hate the most? ›

Raccoons enjoy the dark, so a strategically placed flashlight can be a deterrent. Because they're also put off by strange noises, playing a small radio may help keep them at bay. Finally, raccoons hate the smell of ammonia, so leave a saucer full of the stuff (or an ammonia-dipped rag) near the creatures' entry point.

Do bright lights scare away raccoons? ›

As nocturnal animals, most raccoons prefer to stay out of the spotlight. Bright lights that resemble daylight can scare raccoons away.

Will vinegar keep raccoons away? ›

Here are some tips on raccoon control to prevent them from identifying your home as a place to nest or frequently visit. Raccoons hate the smell of apple cider vinegar (and so do some humans!). Soak a cloth in apple cider vinegar and place it in an aerated container near the den. The smell will deter them!

How do you keep raccoons away naturally? ›

4 Natural Raccoon Deterrents
  1. Scatter or spray pepper. Spices like cinnamon, black pepper or cayenne pepper bother a raccoon's sense of smell, forcing it to relocate to a more livable area. ...
  2. Soak rags in ammonia. ...
  3. Place mothballs around your house. ...
  4. Call Apple Pest Control.
Sep 9, 2019

Do moth balls keep raccoons away? ›

Raccoons dislike the strong smell of mothballs. Buy a box and scatter them around your property to prevent raccoons from taking up residence.

Does Epsom salt deter raccoons? ›

Get rid of raccoons

A few tablespoons of Epsom salt spread around your garbage cans will deter the raccoons, who don't like the taste of the stuff. Don't forget to reapply after it rains.

What is the natural predator of raccoons? ›

Predators. Hawks, owls and humans are major predators. Snakes may eat young raccoons. A raccoon will stay in its den during the day to avoid being preyed upon, and can be aggressive toward potential predators.

Are raccoons scared of dogs? ›

Raccoons don't particularly like large dogs and so if you have one of these animals you can have a great deal of success in scaring the raccoon away as well. The best part about it is that you don't even have to release your dog into the yard.

Do raccoons come out every night? ›

Activity: Nocturnal in nature, raccoons are mostly active at nighttime. They are most active in spring, summer and fall, and will sleep in their dens for most of the winter.

Why are raccoons hanging around my house? ›

Any food scraps, fallen fruit from trees, and other trash can attract raccoons. Seal your trash cans. Consider buying a garbage can with a latch so raccoons can't get inside.

Should I be worried about raccoons? ›

Raccoons And Human Health

Raccoons are dangerous to human health. They can carry rabies, which is a life threatening disease for humans. However, raccoons pose a bigger threat through their droppings. Diseases such as salmonella, leptospirosis, and raccoon roundworm are all carried in urine and fecal matter.

What animals are raccoons scared of? ›

Raccoons stay away from animals that are their natural predators. These natural predators include; bobcats, coyotes, the great horned owl. You may have picked up a pattern here- raccoon predators are typically large.

Is raccoon damage covered by insurance? ›

A standard homeowners insurance policy may help cover repairs if raccoons damage or destroy the roof, attic or other areas of the home's structure. However, homeowners are typically responsible for repairing or replacing personal items — such as clothing, electronics and furniture — that are damaged by raccoons.

Can raccoons chew through walls? ›

Also, their claws can easily dig into anything and break through any material such as wood. Moreover, their climbing instincts make them climb any surface. Because they are highly skilled in climbing, raccoons can go up the walls and other vertical surfaces to find a comfortable and safe shelter in your home.

Where do racoons make nests? ›

They will make their nests almost anywhere — in tree cavities, brush piles, abandoned burrows, chimneys, attics, crawl spaces, storm sewers, haystacks, and barn lofts — and usually have more than one den site available for use at any one time.

Why are raccoons on my deck? ›

What Attracts Raccoons to your Deck. Raccoons love your deck because it keeps them warm and provides a safe place for breeding. Besides that, raccoons need food to survive. And staying under the deck just gives them easy access to food sources around your home.

Do raccoons come out during the day? ›

If you see a raccoon in your yard during the day, don't panic—she is not necessarily sick or dangerous. It's perfectly normal for raccoons to be active throughout the day. She may merely be foraging longer hours to support her young, visiting a garden while the dogs are indoors, or moving to a new location.

Where do racoons live during the day? ›

During the day, raccoons find shelter in all environments. In urban areas, raccoons sleep in abandoned cars, dumpsters, and sewer drains, but hide in attics, garages, and underneath decks in suburban areas. In the wilderness, they live sleep in tree hollows, under rocks, and vacant animal dens.


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