Often, raccoons are climbing your deck posts because they are living under your deck, in your attic, or are attracted to your yard by a food source. In order to keep raccoons from climbing your deck posts, install baffles or smooth metal on your deck posts, seal off your deck and attic, remove food sources that may be drawing the animals to your yard, and humanely trap and release pest raccoons.
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7 Ways to Stop Raccoons from Climbing Your Deck Posts
While raccoons climbing your deck posts may be the most visible problem, often raccoons are initially drawn to your lawn by other factors. To keep raccoons off your deck and prevent them from invading your home in other ways, employ these methods:
Baffles are cone-shaped pieces of metal that can be fitted to your desk posts. Once installed, they will physically prevent raccoons from climbing your deck posts. A raccoon can’t continue to climb upward when a disc-shaped baffle is around the pole. It will be forced to turn back.
- Install these baffles on your deck posts.
- Raccoons climbing your deck posts may already be living in your attic.
Keep in mind, raccoons climbing your deck posts may be searching for a way into your house, or they may already be living in your attic. It may not be enough to simply install baffles and be done with it.
Wrap Poles with Metal
Instead of a disc-shaped baffle, you can wrap a portion of your deck post in metal. This can be sheet metal, stovepipe, or any other smooth metal surface. The metal portion should be at least 24 inches (60 cm) long and 48 inches (120 cm) from the ground.
- Wrap your deck posts with 24-inch (60 cm) sections of smooth metal, such as stovepipe.
- The metal-wrapped section should begin 48 inches (120 cm) above the ground and at least 24 inches (60cm) above any railing, tree limbs, or other platforms raccoons can leap from onto the deck post.
Raccoons are crafty creatures and excellent climbers. They will climb nearby trees and other structures and leap onto your deck posts to continue climbing. Make sure your prevention measures take these factors into account.
Prevent Raccoons from Getting Under Your Deck
Raccoons often make their home beneath your deck. They can remain hidden there easily in the daytime and slip out at night to raid your trash and climb your deck posts. If you’ve got raccoons prowling around your deck on a regular basis, odds are they’ve made the place their home. You may need to call animal control to remove an adult raccoon and its litter safely. Once you’re sure the raccoons are driven out, install these measures to keep them out:
- Inspect the lower portions of your deck for any cracks, gaps, or holes larger than 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter. Raccoons can squeeze through very tight spaces.
- Seal any possible entrance or exit with wire mesh.
- Secure wire mesh with heavy-duty staples or screws.
- If entrances are between the deck and ground level, install a curtain of wire mesh that extends at least 6 inches (15 cm) below the soil surface.
Raccoons are ingenious creatures, adept at tearing away loose barriers or digging under obstacles. A mesh screen that extends 6–10 inches underground around your entire deck is going to be the best form of protection from raccoon invasion.
Inspect Your Attic
Why are raccoons climbing your deck posts? It could be because they’ve already invaded your attic. Perform a visual inspection, looking for any gaps in the soffit, chimney, or vents, where raccoons could enter.
- Inspect the exterior of your roof to look for any areas where raccoons may have invaded your attic. It may help to climb onto the roof for a closer look.
- Raccoons can enter chimneys, vents, and open soffits.
- If raccoons have entered your roof, refrain from trapping them. You may trap a raccoon mother and leave her babies to die.
- Call an animal control expert if you believe raccoons have invaded your attic.
In most cases, if raccoons have made a home in your attic they have already produced a litter of baby raccoons. By preventing your raccoons from climbing onto your roof you may be sentencing the babies to death by starvation. If you have reason to believe raccoons are living in your attic, contact animal control for safe removal.
Keep Food Sources Off Your Deck
Raccoons are most often drawn to a house or yard by food. Raccoons will make a meal of pet food, garbage, or any other edible substance left on your deck at night. Your first order of business is to remove all food sources from your deck. This includes:
- Pet food in bags or containers.
- Trash, garbage cans, and recycling bins.
- Fruit or vegetable plants.
Because they are omnivores, raccoons will make a meal of almost anything. Whether it’s bones in the trash, dog kibble, or the tomatoes you’re growing on the vine. To drive raccoons away from your deck, first, remove what attracts them in the first place.
Clean Your Yard
Similar to a deck with food sources, raccoons love yards that offer easy food and ample hiding spaces. 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.
- Stack firewood at least 12 inches (30 cm) off the ground.
- Trim low-hanging bushes and trees so the lowest branches are at least 8 inches (20 cm) from the ground.
These methods, plus the removal of any debris in your yard, make the place less inviting for raccoons. If there’s no food or living space for raccoons, there will be less raccoon activity on and around your deck.
Catch and Release Raccoons
Raccoons that have invaded your yard and are searching your deck for food may not give up easily, even once you’ve tried the other methods. If this is the case, use a humane cage trap to capture raccoons without harming them. Then, release them in a nearby forest preserve or state park.
- Use this humane trap to catch raccoons.
- Raccoons can be baited to enter humane traps with pet food, cookies, or nuts.
- Release captured raccoons in a state park or nature center where they will not encounter humans.
- Do not trap raccoons that have made a home in your attic. Removing female raccoons in this way is a death sentence for her litter.
Raccoons caught and released into a wildlife area are less likely to encounter humans, meaning there’s a lower chance they’ll reinvade someone’s home, be struck by a car, or attacked by dogs. Safely removing a raccoon may actually save its life.
How Do You Raccoon Proof a Deck?
If raccoons are invading your deck space and climbing deck posts, there are several methods that can aid you in solving the problem. These are:
- Install baffles on your deck posts to prevent climbing.
- Install a 24-inch (60 cm) section of smooth metal around your deck posts to prevent climbing.
- Check to see if raccoons are living in your attic or under your deck. If so, call animal control for removal. Then, seal up entrances to prevent more raccoons from moving in.
- Remove food sources from your deck and yard, to remove the reason for the raccoon infestation.
- Catch and release raccoons.
These methods really work. Other solutions, including flashing lights, sound emitters, and essential oils are not proven to deter raccoons. If you employ the tricks recommended in this article, you’ll be able to sleep through the night without having your rest interrupted by the sound of invading raccoons.