Raccoons are nocturnal creatures that can leave your yard in a mess in the morning. Raccoons, like squirrels and more, are looking for a warm, safe place to live and a reliable food supply.
If your garbage can has been tipped over a few times, it’s most likely because these nocturnal bandits have tried to get at it. Raccoons are famous for climbing up and down gutters in search of food and refuge.
This can cause damage to your gutters and much more and lead to you needing a new roof if left unattended. Raccoon damage can be costly, and many homeowners look for ways how to keep raccoons from climbing deck posts and up the side of their homes.
In our guide, you can learn more about how to stop raccoons from using your downspouts to climb to your roof and attic. By the end, you’ll see how to make your downspouts impossible to climb by adding a raccoon downspout guard or other methods. (Read Moonstone Succulent Care Guide)
How to keep raccoons from climbing downspouts
Raccoons typically leave a trail of dirty paw prints on your downspouts, which are easy to spot.
These animals are not only causing damage to your property but are also most likely seeking a way to gain access and make a den in your attic.
Use the following strategies to thwart these pests without harming or killing them if you see their signs on your white aluminum:
1. Install Pest Spikes
Raccoons get up downspouts by gripping them and working their way up.
Glue bird spikes in vertical strips to the three sides of your downspouts.
You’ll find these spikes used to stop birds from landing, yet they are a great way to prevent raccoons from scaling up the sides of your home.
To use them, follow these steps:
- Glue spike strips to three sides of the downspout.
- Fix the spikes at least 3 feet from any surface; a raccoon or other nuisance animals can leap to your downspout.
Porch roofs, tree limbs, and windowsills are all areas they can use to gain access.
Place the spikes high enough on the downspout so the Raccoon cannot get around them by reaching a point on the downspout
above your spikes.
Raccoons have exceptional climbing and leaping abilities. They are not to be taken lightly.
2. Add Baffles
Baffles are disc-shaped pieces of metal or plastic wrapping around your downspout like an upside-down saucer, and they will physically prevent raccoons from climbing.
Because of the location of your home’s downspouts, you may need a typical wrap-around baffle that you’d use to stop raccoons from climbing deck posts or bird feeders. However, you may have to alter this to fit your downspout.
Place your baffles high enough that raccoons cannot leap onto your downspout above the baffle.
3. Grease Downspouts
To keep raccoons from climbing up to the gutter, apply automotive grease to a 24-inch section of your downspout.
Raccoons hug as they climb, and as they can’t grip with their claws, any greased section of your drain pipe means they’ll keep sliding down.
To get the best results and avoid hitting the grease yourself, put it in a high area.
Raccoon Proofing Your Yard
Besides dealing with your downspouts, there are other things you can do to make your yard less desirable or easy for them to climb up your home.
Here are some things you can do to stop raccoons and other small animals.
Inspect Your Attic
Raccoons seek cover by climbing downspouts. Raccoons do this once they have located an entrance to your attic.
If raccoons are in your attic, there’s a high chance they have given birth to a litter of baby raccoons.
For young raccoons, when you stop adults climbing to their babies or remove adults through humane capture, this is the likely death of the younger raccoons.
Check for signs of raccoons climbing downspouts regularly. Adult raccoons and young should be safely removed by animal control. (Learn What’s The Difference Between Geese And Goose)
You can use metal mesh or cover grills with metal screens to raccoon-proof entries to your attic.
Trim Back Trees
When searching how to stop raccoons from climbing gutters, trim overhanging branches on trees around your home to keep raccoons away from your downspouts, gutters, and roof.
The distance between tree limbs and the roof should be at least 3 feet. Raccoons may use tree limbs to get over your downspout protections, find another route onto your roof, and make their unwelcome presence known if you don’t do this.
Once a raccoon has made a den in your attic, it will make every way to return there. Remember that raccoons are cunning and tenacious.
Clean Your Yard
The prospect of easy food sources attract raccoons to your home. But, if they’ve started climbing your downspouts, it’s most likely because your home provides them with a welcoming home base.
Remove all food sources from your yard to drive raccoons away and keep them from returning.
The following steps can help:
- Garbage cans should be sealed and secured with padlocks or heavy-duty bungee cords.
- Bring all pet food inside.
- Clear your yard of any fallen fruit or nuts.
- Food waste in compost needs storing in raccoon-proof containers.
Raccoons are less likely to visit your yard when there isn’t easy food to find.
Use a Humane Trap
You can use a humane cage trap to catch adult raccoons. If you catch one, you can take it to a nature center or a state forest and release it.
However, you should only do this if you are sure the Raccoon doesn’t have a litter in your attic.
If you remove a mother raccoon, any baby raccoons will starve and die.
Install Perimeter Electric Fence
If you don’t mind the additional cost of these pest guards, you can use this as an effective way in keeping raccoons away.
Install electric fencing gardens, gutters, garbage cans, or any areas you don’t want raccoons.
Ensure you don’t make it too high or leave gaps as smaller raccoons will get through, and you won’t cure your raccoon problem.
Raccoon Deterrents That Don’t Work
Several raccoon repellents are marketed as anti-raccoon remedies. Unfortunately, several of these approaches are ineffective, while others are harmful or illegal.
Sound Emitters: Using a high-frequency sound emitter to repel raccoons rarely works. Raccoons will ignore the commotion and continue to climb your downspouts.
Scent Repellents: Similar to sound emitters, no scent is strong enough to keep a raccoon from climbing to your roof if it has already made a home there.
Those who recommend killing, trapping, or poisoning raccoons advocate harsh and possibly illegal tactics.
Above all, look for a long-term answer. For example, if you don’t raccoon-proof your home and downspouts, a new raccoon may move in after its predecessor has been chased away or killed.
The greatest anti-raccoon solution removes existing intruders and prevents a new raccoon family from moving in.
Once the raccoons are gone, raccoon-proof your downspouts to keep other animals.
DIY Your Own Pest Guards
You can also use nails or wire to make your own wraps for gutter downspouts. This may help if you are on a limited budget or want to do your own.
Making and installing handmade wraps may take some time, but they can be just as effective as commercial materials.
Make sure the points don’t stick up towards the sky, no matter what you do with them. Keep a 45-degree angle between the points and the ground, which are at least two inches long.
Raccoons can climb over them if they are angled towards the sky, as their fur and body fat will protect them from the sharp points.
Install Metal Sheeting
It’s possible that metal sheeting will be required between the downspouts and the walls.
Raccoons have keen claws that enable them to secure onto uneven surfaces such as bricks or textured paneling. (Read Can Chickens Eat Raw Cabbage)
By putting smooth metal sheeting behind the vertical gutters, they won’t be able to use the wall’s texture to get around your wrapping.
Install Down Facing Funnels
You can Raccoon & squirrel proof bird feeders and more.
These down-facing funnels can be installed on vertical or horizontal gutter runs with bends or other parts not attached to stop raccoons from climbing.
The gutter’s open end must be wide enough to prevent an adult raccoon from crossing it. They won’t stick their claws into the gripping points by lengthening the funnel.
The ideal way to work these materials is from the ground up, but you should avoid laying blunt wrapping or metal sheets along the ground.
Sharp points or edges may harm or scratch your young children or pets. Start installing three or four feet above the ground if this is a concern.
Raccoons will still be able to go into your gutters at the lower levels, but they will run into your blockades before reaching the horizontal gutter and your roof.
Ensure there’s at least a three-foot protective barrier in place. Even the largest raccoons should be unable to get around sharp wraps or smooth metal surfaces because of this.
Chemical repellents are also available. However, these produce a fragrance or irritation that makes climbing more difficult.
These products must be used exactly as indicated to be effective, and they will, sadly, need to be applied regularly to work.
Remember that some chemical repellents, particularly irritants, can harm humans and pets.
Audible Pest Repellents
A sonic deterrent for birds, deer, cats, dogs, and Raccoons is eco-friendly. These audible pest repellents are a new product category recently hitting the market.
These gadgets produce ultrasonic waves at decibel levels undetectable to human ears. Some users report positive effects, but critics claim such audio gadgets are ineffective.
Even if you secure your roof by removing the access point provided by your gutter downspouts, raccoons are superb climbers and can take advantage of other items on your property.
You may need metal sheets on your home so these excellent climbers can’t dig their claws in your siding.
Ensure that any materials, such as tree branches, that provide them with climbing points to your roof are removed.
Taking extra steps with minimal additional cost can help prevent all the raccoons and other animals from becoming a more significant problem on your home’s roof.