How to Get Rid of Animals Living Under Deck, Porch, or Shed

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How to Get Rid of Animals Living Under Deck, Porch, or Shed

How to Get Rid of Animals Living Under Deck, Porch, or Shed

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Keith's Pro Tips

"With a flashlight examine underneath your deck, porch, or shed to make sure no animal or signs of their activity is noticed. If unsure if the pest is still present then tear a wad of paper or place sticks and leaves over holes, gaps, and openings. For larger openings, you may need to sprinkle powder for animals to walk across. When these objects are disturbed or tracks are present then it may indicate the animal is still present."

How to Get Rid of Animals Living Under Deck, Porch, or Shed

This page is a general DIY guide that will help to control and prevent animals like raccoons, opossum, woodchucks, skunks, rats, mice, and chipmunks from invading underneath your homes porch, decks, and shed. Using the products and methods suggested in this article will guarantee complete control of rodent infestations underneath your home and shed.

When following these guidelines, Local and State laws are still present and must be followed. It is recommended for the homeowner to visit their local animal control office or state website to visit proper rules and regulations associated with the control of raccoons, opossum, woodchucks, chipmunks, and skunks.

There is nothing quite like the unpleasant surprise of walking near your deck or shed and witnessing an animal dashing towards or across your path. 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.

Finding these animals anywhere near your home can mean there are also animal droppings and urine nearby which can spread harmful diseases. The risk does not stop there as pests such as chipmunks, woodchucks, rats, and mice can gnaw away at electrical wiring and insulation causing significant damages to your homes foundation.

Skunks tend to burrow or hide underneath structures during the day then come out at night to feed on insects and grubs in your landscape leading to death of foliage. Raccoons and opossums are more inclined to travel into open, gaps that decks or porches provide since they do not dig large burrows or holes to live in. Though they do not directly disrupt your homes foundation they can increase contact with harmful bacteria from their waste and spread of garbage contents across your yard.

Unfortunately, your shed, deck, and porch provides major sources of dark corners and hidden spaces that pests tend to favor. As far as keeping animals out of your shed, porch, or deck, some of the measures listed throughout this article still applies, but other specific conditions might need to be followed in each pest control link.

Signs of Animals Under Shed, Porch, and Deck

Chipmunk in Burrow

All animals leave signs of their presence and if you know how to differentiate them, then you can determine if there is one or multiple species to improve control more effectively. The best time to go looking for these pests is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when pests are most active. If you are trying to look for skunks, be aware this pest are nocturnal meaning they will hiding in these sheltered areas throughout the day.

Droppings: One of the most common ways to separate each animal is to examine their waste. Unlike other animals, raccoons establish community latrine areas where they repeatedly deposit piles of feces in the flat and raised off areas such as corners or sides of porches, decks, and sheds. These raised piles of feces will look will look similar to dog droppings with the exception that raccoon waste has a darker coloration, tubular shape, and granular texture.

Opossums are another pest that often has its waste it confused with dogs except that it is broken into 2-3 pieces. Their waste is also mistaken for raccoons, but can be differentiated by examining the texture and location. Opossums eat about anything and on occasion seeds, which their waste will rarely contain whereas raccoons have a higher concentration creating a granulated texture. Typically, opossums create droppings in sporadic patterns in protected areas like underneath your porch, deck, and shed.

Woodchuck scat leave their medium sized brown to black colored waste above ground and within specific parts of their tunnels and burrows. When these areas become full they will then place it outside of the tunnel and cover it with dirt. Depending on the entrance or exit location of the woodchucks tunnel will determine where to find their droppings. Skunk droppings measure about 1 to 2 inches in length, brown to black coloration, and a tubular shape with blunt ends similar to the appearance of cat scat. With its strong odor its not hard to find skunk waste, but its commonly found underneath the porch, shed, deck, or in adjacent gardens.

Though normally sporadic, look for rat droppings along walls and sides underneath and above on porches, sheds, and decks. Mouse droppings are more prolific and sporadic in pattern as their waste can be seen underneath and on top of decks, porches, and within sheds. Mouse droppings are smooth with pointed ends, and are dark to light brown colored measuring about quarter of an inch long. Rat droppings are black, pellet shaped and depending on the species have either blunted or pointed ends.

Similar to mouse feces, chipmunk droppings are also oblong shaped with about the same length in size except their waste is slightly 1/4 larger. Besides size, their waste is different from mice with its hard density whereas mice is soft. Chipmunks waste is rarely seen above ground and when it is its usually in grassy areas adjacent to your porch, deck, or shed. Most of the time chipmunk waste is stored in a special part of their burrows.

Damage: You may find materials like newspaper, clothing, plants, or other paper materials from your trash scattered in your yard or near decks or porches and other damages such as chewing through walls in sheds for raccoons. For opossums, look for scratch marks on trees and porch or deck post, dugged up gardens or landscapes, and torn insulation underneath these structures as this may suggest nesting. This probably seems obvious, but skunks are infamous for their horrific odor and the longer they are in one area the stronger the smell will be making your porch, deck, and shed unusable.

Rats and mice are persistent gnawers on the corners of wood surfaces, and exposed wiring and insulation. Once they chew on these surfaces it helps increase the risk of possible fire hazards, and weakened structural support of your porch, deck, shed, and possibly homes foundation.

Burrows: Though chipmunks do cause significant structural damages, they can cause harm gardens and ornamental foliage while foraging. Their burrowing under porches, decks, and sheds can create wear and tear leading to costly repairs. Chipmunk burrows are 2 to 3 inches in diameter, and flat to the ground with no dirt surrounding entrances.

Skunks are destructive when searching for food such as grubs leading to overturned dirt and damaged foliage. These pests dig under porches, sheds, and decks to sleep in during the day until ready to feed. These pests have two types of burrows one used for sleeping and food storage. Sides of their tunnels has smooth walls, range about 2 feet deep in length with a conical shape to them.

Woodchucks often create large burrows between 10 to 12 inches across underneath decks or porches because they are near available food sources like gardens or landscapes. The longer these pests inhibit an area the greater the damages in plants and weaker structural support of these manmade areas. Rats such as Norway rats, dig burrows in grassy areas that lead underneath sheds or sides of decks and porches. Their burrows have various things like insulation or plant materials inside of them and have one to two exit holes measuring around 2-4 inches in diameter.

Noises: Being an animal, there is a good chance you will hear these pests before you see them. Raccoons are not quite creatures as you will hear thumping, thudding, or scratching sounds as it plays, forages in trash cans, and travel around dusk and dawn. While opossums are known for rolling over and playing dead, they make hissing sounds or a low growl when you are too close to them and their young. Other sounds such as grunting or light pattering of feet underneath your porch, deck, or shed might be heard.

Woodchucks make short, sharp whistles with their incisors to warn other members of its species of danger hence the nickname whistle-pig. While skunks are often quiet pests, they can make noises from when they thump on the ground with their front feet just before spraying.

Rats and mice are usually most active at night, homeowners can usually hear these pests creating scratching sounds as they run or climb underneath decks, porches, or sheds and inside the walls of sheds. Chipmunks are most active during the day and sometimes can be mistaken for birds with their high-pitch chip. If homeowners are too close then the chipmunk releases a deep clicking sound altering other pests of your presence.

Keep Animals Out From Under Porch, Deck, or Shed

No matter the animal each one has the capacity of biting, scratching, or spreading harmful diseases which is why it is necessary to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Skunks, rats, and mice may altogether avoid selected products if they smell your scent. To avoid this possibility and increase visiting to selected products then you will near to wear personal protective equipment like gloves.

Animals like raccoons, opossums, skunks, woodchucks, rats, mice, and chipmunks are generally drawn to a homes porch, deck, or shed because its the path of least resistance to food, water, and shelter. Make these harder to get and they will leave or avoid these areas altogether. Pests such as rats, mice, and chipmunks are more likely to burrow under these structures and come into homes during the winter season. Animals like raccoons, opossums, woodchucks, and skunks tend to travel under homes and sheds throughout the year.

To avoid animal encounters it would be best to make applications mid-day as most pests are active early in the morning or late afternoon.

Step 1: Clear Vegetation and Debris

Pruning Leaves

One of the first things that attracts any animal to your homes yard is the abundance of overgrown trees, shrubs, and grasses. Once these pests detect these features, especially near your shed, deck, or porch then it becomes prime real-estate because of the covered pathways and typically, close access to reliable food sources.

Not only can these overgrown foliage's provide animals shelter, the resulting leaves, fruits, nuts, and moisture make excellent sites for insect activity that some pests need to feed on. Leftover plant debris also gives the animal nesting material to line their burrows with and travel against your buildings structure leading to an indoor infestation.

Prune overgrown tree and shrub branches, limbs, and leaves to prevent thick vegetation and fallen leaves for pests to hide underneath. Mow when turf reaches a height of 3 inches to limit the pests ability to travel and food source. Lastly, rake all fallen plant debris as this can be used for nesting material for pests and potentially increase insects for the animal to feed on.

For homeowners who regularly entertain outside on their deck or porch, there's a chance of leftover food or spilled liquids like sodas that might be appeasing to pests. If you have a get-together on these areas make sure to sweep and clean so no food residues remain. Place all trash on and around decks, porches, or sheds within a sealable plastic trash bag and place inside a garbage can with the lid shut too.

If you're storing garbage cans near the porch, deck, or shed, move them several feet from these foundations as they are an easy food source and nest materials for pests like raccoons.

Step 2: Set Out Rodenticide, Repellent, or Humane Traps

Hand Spreading Granule

Make the space inhabitable by repelling the animal with a repellent or using a rodenticide for rats and mice. Due to persistent nature some pests like woodchucks, raccoons, and opossums may require the use of a humane trap. Depending on the pest will determine which repellent to use.

Repellents are designed to humanely repel labeled animals from treated areas with the use of active ingredients that irritate the pests sense of smell, taste, touch, or all three. Rodenticides such as Eratication Rodent Bait is a poisonous rat bait that kills rats and mice when they feed on bait blocks made with peanut butter, seeds, and diphacinone .005%.

Repellents usually come ready to use, but can be applied with a handheld sprayer. Eratication Rodent Bait must be applied in a tamper-proof bait station like the Solutions Rat and Mouse Bait Station.

To get rid of rats and mice under your porch then place 4 to 6 Eratication Rodent Baits inside of the Solutions Rat and Mouse Bait Station on the metal rods. While wearing gloves close the lid to the bait station and lock it to secure it from animal, pet, and children activity. Place the loaded bait stations flat against your shed, porch, or deck with the products entrance hole against the structure. Check the bait station daily to replenish rodent bait as needed and to remove any deceased pests since this could discourage them from visiting the trap.

Woodchucks, skunks, and chipmunks will need to repelled with Critter Ridder Animal Repellent. Lightly sprinkle 1 lb. of Critter Ridder Animal Repellent per 40 sq. ft. as a border around area to be protected. Repeat application after 30 days, if needed. Do not apply to foliage of shrubs or to ornamental, soft-bodied plants. Can be applied to lawns, garden paths and flowerbeds, and around ornamental plants, trees, or shrubs. 

Raccoons, opossums, and woodchucks will need to be removed from under your porch, deck, or shed with a humane trap like Solutions Humane Live Animal Trap. When placing the Solutions Humane Live Animal Trap wear gloves and ensure the surface is flat to avoid the animal from moving the cage. Set a brick or weight on top of the trap to avoid this. Place the trap in areas where the pest is most active, but ensure that it is out of direct sunlight as the trapped pests can die from dehydration or heat stress.

Before setting the Solutions Humane Live Anime Trap you will need to set bait that the animal typically feeds on. Once you have chosen your bait you will need to place it at the end of the trap behind the trigger plate. You will do this to ensure the animal moves over the trigger plate and activates the trap to close.

When your bait is set behind the trigger plate you are ready to arm the Solutions Humane Live Animal Trap. With two hands, open the Solutions Humane Live Animal Trap door by pushing on the door lock then lifting the door. While this door is lifted pull the trigger arm forward to set it, which you can tell it is when the trigger hook holds the door without help.

Step 3: Block Access to Hiding Places

Sealing Crack and Crevice

Once you are sure that all animals have been eliminated, you can then install a physical barrier. Animals that are trapped underneath can tunnel and or chew their way into your buildings structure leading to an interior infestation or may cause the pest to perish underneath the foundation causing foul, odors.

When it comes to sheds animals like mice or rats can find easy access through gaps and holes in the siding, floorboards, and doors. Weather stripping around shed doors will go far when preventing rodents from traveling in. As can sealing off holes and cracks along the siding, doors, windows, and the where plumbing meets the walls with caulk. Larger gaps and voids may need to be filled with unchewable material like Stuf-Fit Copper Mesh Exclusion.

Larger animals like raccoons, opossum, woodchuck, and skunks can be kept from traveling underneath your porch, deck, and shed with skirting. Skirting is a process that installs a wall or a board running along the base and perimeter of your shed, deck, or porch, covering the opening between the floor and ground. This process helps to keep various animals from making a home underneath these areas and home.

Almost any type of skirting materials will help to keep animals out to some extent, but it would be best to use thick, unchewable materials like stone, concrete, brick, or wire mesh.

Key Takeaways

What Animals Would Burrow or Live Under A Deck, Porch, or Shed?

  • Chipmunks, skunks, woodchucks, and rats often dig or burrow underneath your homes deck, porch, or shed. Other pests such as raccoons, opossums, and mice often just travel into available gaps under decks, porch, or shed.

How to Deal With Rats Under Decking, Porch, or Shed

  • Rats, like Norway rats, will first need to have food resources and hiding places eliminated. Once these sites are controlled, you can then lay out Eratication Rodent Bait in Solutions Rat & Mouse Bait Station. When rats are no longer noticed you can then install fencing with mesh, chicken wire, or other solid materials like brick around your deck, porch, and shed.

What Animals Scratch Under Your Homes Deck, Porch, or Shed

  • Scratching may come from mice, rat, opossum, raccoon living under your homes deck, porch, or shed.
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