Raccoons can be more than a nuisance, they can damage your home and create health concerns in some instances. This is especially true when they have access to your roof using your gutter's downspouts. So, how do you stop raccoons from climbing your gutters?
Start By Eliminating A Raccoons Desire To Climb
These critters climb into your yard, then your downspouts, because they’re attracted to resources on your property. The best place to start is to eliminate what would attract them onto your property in the first place. If you remove these resources, raccoons should lose interest and spend their time looking for another place to find food, water, or shelter.
1. Don’t Leave Pet Food Outside
If you have pets and tend to leave food and water outdoors for them, take the time to bring these in at night. Raccoons are nocturnal and will be attracted to your yard by these items. If you have a garden or fruit trees, take the time to block their access and keep fallen food picked up.
2. Trim Back Tree Limbs
Trim tree limbs away from your roof and keep shrubbery from growing near downspouts. This will eliminate items that they can use to access the roof by other means. Locate chimneys, vents, or other openings along the walls or roof of your property and cover them with metal mesh or fencing to eliminate access points that they will be attracted to.
3. Pest Proof Trash Cans
Make sure to use trash cans with secure lids that these pests cannot open. These simple steps will eliminate their interest in your property, and you might be surprised how effective taking these steps will go towards discouraging raccoons from climbing your gutters, to begin with.
Add Items To Discourage Racoons From Climbing Downspouts
If you remove resources from your property and still have issues with raccoons climbing your downspouts, your next step is to discourage them from using vertical gutter runs to climb. This will require you to modify the gutters or the walls around them.
4. Install Pest Guards
There are a variety of pest guards that are designed to wrap around gutter downspouts and trees. Many of these systems will use nails, spikes, or wire to create points that will poke raccoons if they try to climb over them. These items can be spaced on the gutter spouts at one-inch intervals, making the surface near impossible to climb.
When looking at these products, you should shop for something that creates sharp points that protrude off of the surface by at least two inches. This will prevent raccoons from using their legs to climb over the rough surface. It helps to ensure that any attempt to climb the spout will force the points to touch their legs and underbelly.
5. Make Your Own Pest Guards
You can also make your own wraps made from nails or wire. This may be desirable for those who have a limited budget or own a home with a lot of downspouts. It may take some time to make and install homemade wraps, but they can work as effectively as premade materials.
No matter what use, make sure that the points do not stick up towards the sky. Keep the points pointing at an angle towards the ground. If they are angled towards the sky, raccoons can climb over them as their fur and body fat will shield them from the sharp points.
6. Install Metal Sheeting
You may need to add metal sheeting between the downspouts and walls as well. Raccoons have sharp claws that allow them to secure a grip on rough surfaces, including bricks or textured siding. Placing smooth metal sheeting behind the vertical gutters will prevent them from using the wall texture to bypass your wraps.
7. Down Facing Funnels
You can also install down-facing funnels on gutter runs with bends or other sections that are detached from the wall. The open end of the gutter needs to be wide enough to prevent an adult raccoon from reaching over it. Adding length to the funnel will also eliminate gripping points they can stick their claws into.
Installing these items from the ground up will work the best, but you may want to avoid placing sharp wraps or metal sheets along the ground. Your young children or pets may get poked or scratched by sharp points or edges. If this is a concern, begin the installation three or four feet above the ground.
Raccoons will still have access to the lower levels of your gutters, but they will still encounter your blockades before they reach the horizontal gutter runs. Just make sure that you provide at least three feet of protective barrier. That should prevent even the largest raccoons from bypassing the wraps or smooth metal surfaces.
Make Use Of Raccoon Repellents
If the blockades described above are undesirable, you can also contemplate using various repellents to keep raccoons from climbing your downspouts. These can include audible, chemical, and electrical barriers.
8. Electric Wire
One repellent you might consider is the use of an electric fence or wire system. There are many products available that are designed to provide an electrical charge that repels animals as they touch the fence or wire. While many of these units are designed to work on fences on the ground, some of these products can be installed along with the horizontal gutter runs as well as the top of downspouts.
Keep in mind that these systems will also provide a shock to other animals (and people) who touch the fencing or wire. You will also want to exercise caution if you install one of these systems to make sure that the gutter does not conduct the electrical charge. That will prevent accidental discharges when a pet or family member touches the gutter.
9. Chemical Repellents
You can also purchase chemical repellents. These are designed to produce a scent or irritant that discourages climbing. These products must be used as directed to work effectively and, unfortunately, will require scheduled applications to remain effective. Remember that some chemical repellents, especially irritants, may also affect humans and pets.
10. Audible Pest Repellents
A recent product line that has hit the market is audible pest repellents. These devices produce ultrasonic waves at decibel levels human ears cannot detect. Some users report good results, but there are also detractors who say that audible devices do not work.
Even if you manage to secure your roof by eliminating your gutter downspouts as an access point, raccoons are excellent climbers that can make use of other things on your property. Make sure that you remove any items, including tree branches, that provide them with climbing points to your roof. Taking these extra steps will help to prevent these little critters from becoming a bigger concern for you and your home.