To stop raccoons from leaving unsightly, unhealthy droppings on your deck, you'll need to stop them from coming onto it in the first place. This can be a challenge, as raccoons actually prefer a flat, raised surface as a latrine. They're smart, too, and could care less about most substances marketed as wildlife repellents. But persistence and the right tactics will make you the ruler of your poop-free deck.
Don't Invite Them
The first step in defeating the messy little bandits is to make sure your deck contains nothing that will attract them. Raccoons are opportunistic omnivores; in other words, they'll eat almost anything. Don't leave any animal or human food or trash on your deck. Even empty food containers should be brought indoors or disposed of in sturdy, secured containers far from your deck, as the smell can draw them to investigate.
Make Them Uncomfortable
While raccoons can get accustomed to most repellents, including human hair, cayenne pepper, coyote urine and chemical preparations, they are not fond of noise and light and don't like to get wet. Motion sensor strobe lights, noise makers or sprinklers installed on your deck may be successful in convincing them to find another latrine.
Evict Raccoon Residents
Discourage raccoons from setting up housekeeping under your deck. Females will often den under decks in springtime to raise families, which can lead to a substantial poop problem. It's only fair to wait until the babies are big enough to leave with the mom, but when you notice them moving around, feel free to have a raccoon-rousting party. Identify the spot under the deck where the raccoons have nested. Arm yourself with a powerful flashlight and a radio, tin pans, or whatever other source of irregular noise you prefer, and set up camp near the deck when it's getting dark. Make noise and beam your light directly on the nest. It may take some time -- raccoons usually don't leave until it's been dark a while -- but you should eventually be rewarded by seeing them scurry away.
Block Access Points
If you've evicted raccoons from beneath your deck, seal off all possible access points with sturdy wire mesh or hardware cloth. You'll need to dig down at least 6 inches to install this to prevent them from burrowing underneath it. To keep them from visiting the surface of your deck, consider installing a strand or two of electric fencing around the deck's perimeter at a height of about 6-12 inches. It won't take them long to learn to stay clear.
A Few More Raccoon Tips
- Don't try trapping raccoons yourself unless you are an experienced trapper and it's legal to do so.
- Never corner a raccoon.
- Raccoons are mainly nocturnal, but especially in the case of nursing mothers, they do make exceptions. Seeing one in daylight does not mean it has rabies.