As cold weather approaches, you may wonder if a squirrel in winter may seek shelter inside your warm house or think about how to keep mice away. However, if you have a deck or porch, animals may also make a den on or under it. This is more likely in winter when you probably aren't using your deck as much. Here are some ideas on how to raccoon-proof your deck as well as keep other forms of wildlife away.
How To Raccoon-Proof Your Deck
Raccoons dig small holes to find food, but they don't hollow out large burrows for dens. Instead, they look for a hole or opening that is already available, and the space under your deck may seem inviting to them.
Raccoons are experts at finding weaknesses to exploit, so the first thing to do to protect your deck from raccoons is to make sure it is sturdy, repairing or replacing any weak boards. Next, you can seal off the opening under your deck with steel mesh or chicken wire. Raccoons aren't burrowing animals, but other creatures that may make dens under your deck are, so you may want to install the metal mesh between six to 12 inches underground.
Don't assume that you are safe from raccoons if your deck is high off the ground. Raccoons are better climbers than they are diggers, and they often make dens in trees. You may be able to prevent raccoons from climbing your deck posts by wrapping them in smooth metal, such as material for a stovepipe, that raccoons have a hard time keeping a grip on. Another preventive that might work is a cone-shaped metal baffle that installs around the post and prevents raccoons from climbing all the way up the post.
Before attempting to raccoon proof your deck, first make sure that the raccoons aren't living underneath the structure first. If they are, wildlife removal is required before any preventive measures can take place.
What Other Animals You May Find on Your Property
As cold days become more and more frequent, wild animals will try to find shelter. The deck can be an ideal place for them to move in since it is sort of a roof to them when they crawl underneath. Here are some of the animals you are most likely to see under your deck in the winter:
- Ground squirrels
Unlike raccoons, skunks are burrowing animals, so they look specifically for places where they can dig a burrow for winter. The space underneath your deck or porch is just the kind of place they look for because it has a sturdy object on top to provide some shelter and protection.
Mice remain active all winter and have to keep foraging for food to survive. They may live under your deck and come inside to look for food, but because they specifically look for warm places in which to build nests, they may move right into your home if they can find a way in.
The deck isn't the only place where you need to worry about wildlife intrusion on your property. For example, while ground squirrels may burrow under your deck, tree squirrels are more likely to get into your attic to look for places to make nests. To get inside, they may damage your roof by tearing holes in shingles, soffits, or fascia.
What You Should NOT Do About Wildlife Intrusion
In case wild animals have already invaded your home, there are some things you shouldn't do under any circumstances. You should not attempt to handle them. Wild animals do not understand that you are trying to help and could bite and scratch in self-defence. This can result in injuries and potentially expose you to diseases such as rabies. Wild animals can also carry parasites that could spread to you.
Discovering unwanted wildlife in your garden goes hand in hand with wanting it to go away as soon as possible. At the same time, this should not be a reason for you to treat the animals badly or to be cruel. For example, you should never attempt to harm the animals with poison or other implements. Not only is this cruel to the animals, but it could also injure family members or pets inadvertently. You should also not attempt to trap animals and relocate them to an unfamiliar area. They may die due to an inability to find food.
What You Can Do To Keep Wildlife Off Your Property
Wildlife control requires a lot of time and energy. Therefore, prevention is always better than removal. There is a lot of advice available on the internet about using bright lights, sounds, or smells to keep wildlife away from your property. Unfortunately, such measures are unlikely to be successful on a long-term basis because of animals' adaptability.
Nevertheless, there are five practical prevention steps you can take to discourage wildlife from your property:
- Never leave food out in the yard. This includes food for your pet. Wild animals like to hang around where food is readily available.
- When throwing away garbage, make sure the containers are well-secured with locking lids. Keep garbage receptacles inside as much as possible, and use bungee cords or racks to prevent animals from tipping them over.
- Pick fruit and vegetables from your garden as soon as they become ripe.
- Have your lawn treated against white grubs. These are among skunks' and raccoons' favourite foods.
- Check your home regularly for openings or signs of deterioration that could give wildlife a way in.
How To Raccoon-Proof Your Deck With Help From Skedaddle
When it comes to both expert prevention and removal services, Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control is a perfect choice. We have been in business for nearly three decades and have pioneered a number of different techniques that focus on humane removal and exclusion, as well as prevention methods. We not only know how to raccoon-proof your deck, but we also perform the work for you. Get in touch with our experts today and ensure yourself a cozy, pleasant, and stress-free winter.