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Animals Living Under a Deck, Porch, or Shed

Removing A Wild Animal From Under A Deck, Shed Or Porch

Wild animals can often be a problem around a domestic property, and while they will often look for areas above ground level such as attics, wall cavities and chimneys, they can also find their way into spaces beneath decking, a shed or a porch. These spaces are often quite small, and their entry holes can often be inconspicuous too, but it is important to deal with the situation promptly if you think animals may be underneath these spaces. While scratching can be one sign that there may be animals below, in many cases it will be signs around the entry point such as animal feces, scavenged food or other debris that can suggest you have a wild animal below.

Why Do Animals Like These Cavities?

The natural instinct for many species is to look for a dark and confined space where they can give birth and raise their young, and many animals will naturally look for caves or cavities between tree roots in the wild. There are also many species that can burrow their own holes, and both types of animal can often be found in the cavities beneath a deck, shed or porch. These cavities will replicate the kind of spaces that they would naturally look for in the wild, and as many of these species are also scavengers, the presence of food sources such as garbage or domestic pet food nearby can be an extra bonus.

Identifying The Animal Species And Checking For Nesting Behavior

There are a range of different species that may be found in these cavities in the home, and the majority of these animals will be nocturnal, so keeping a close watch on any entry points around dusk will often allow you to catch the animal going in and out. If this doesn't work, try and examine the area to see if you can find where they are gaining access, and often the size of the hole can give you an indication of the type of animal getting in and out. It is also worth checking to see if it is nesting season, as most larger species of wild animal will give birth in the spring, so if you are finding the problem between March and July, you may need to remember that there may be young animals in the cavity too.

Different Types Of Animal Traps

Trapping these animals will usually be the best way of solving the problem, and when it comes to small rodents such as rats and mice, traditional snap traps baited with meat or fruit can be successful in catching the animals. Larger species such as raccoons, woodchucks or groundhogs will need a cage trap, and this should be placed in a prominent location near the entry or exit point. There are lethal snares available which are used by some more traditional trappers, and glue traps which stick the animal to the pad and then waiting for the animal to die, but both of these can be a hazard to other animals and children, as well as being cruel ways to deal with animals.

Trapping And Removing A Mother And Babies

The technique that is used by many professionals trying to deal with this problem is that they will wait until the mother has left the cavity before going in and recovering any baby animals, and then placing these in a cage trap. When the female returns she will always go towards her young, and will find it difficult to avoid going towards her babies. This makes it easy to catch the whole family so they can be removed.

Trapping An Individual Animal

When dealing with an individual animal, placing traps around the entry points will usually be enough, and trying different types of bait can be a good idea if you are struggling to catch the animal. Some animals may have become trap shy, so in this case one good approach is to set out food in a particular location over several nights to lower the animal's guard, and then after a few nights where the animal has returned several times, then you can place the food in a trap, which will often work.

Keeping Animals Out In The Future

Once you have trapped and removed the animal from below the deck, shed or porch, the most important step is to make sure that other animals won't be able to get back into the same cavity again. A strong mesh covering the access points is very good, and embedding this into the soil can help to prevent burrowing animals from getting past the barrier too. Once this is in place, check it regularly to ensure that it remains in good condition, and you will be able to relax knowing the animals won't be getting back into the same cavity again. What animals can climb under a deck? If you live in an area that tends to be constantly under the attack of wild animals, it makes sense to know about them, the damage they can cause and the areas of your home and yard in which they will choose to make their new home. Underneath the decking of your home is usually a worry spot for many homeowners, and you will find that there are a huge number of creatures that will decide to move in there. Among the most popular animals for living under your deck, you will find:
  • Rats, mice and other rodents
  • Raccoons
  • Opossums or possums
  • Chipmunks
  • Feral and stray cats
  • Woodchucks
  • Skunks
  • Otters
Of course, these animals can be easily enough encouraged to stay away from the area underneath your decking and the first port of call will be to look whether or not there are animals under there already. The last thing that you are going to want to do is to block up the areas or holes that the animals could be using to gain entrance, only to find a nasty smell a few weeks later emanating from a dead creature that you have just blocked in!

You are going to need to do one of two things to avoid an animal invasion underneath your decking. Firstly, you could block up the holes but you will need to remember to use a very durable and strong material when you do, especially with animals like the opossum, simply because their sharp teeth and claws can fight their way through most materials with ease.

The second option that you have is to make the space underneath your deck as open as possible. This will prevent any animals looking for a secluded spot from moving in.
Snake Under a Shed or Deck
Skunk Under a Shed or Deck
Opossum Under a Shed or Deck
Go back to the main Animal Removal page for more information about animals living under a deck, porch, or shed.
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