Good way to keep racoons off rooftop deck in rental unit?
May 15, 2013 5:29 PM   Subscribe

We rent the top floor of an old boarding house in Toronto and have access to a rooftop patio. Because we rent, drilling and installing motion activated lights or anything that would permanently alter the unit is a no-go. Any chemical or non-permanent solutions would be greatly appreciated.
posted by jrlagace to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
A bowl, with a rag in it, soaked in ammonia. Raccoons dislike the smell of ammonia. Depending on the size of the area, you might need a few, positioned near the access points. Refresh as needed.
posted by ambrosia at 5:40 PM on May 15, 2013

The raccoons are after food, water and shelter. Deny them these things, and they will go elsewhere. Pick up trash, close off attic holes, trim trees, throw up some chicken wire, etc.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:57 PM on May 15, 2013

If lights would work you could put a cord on a motion sensor light; attach the light to one end of a 6'-7' 4x4; put the other end of the 4x4 into a 5 gallon bucket; fill the bucket with sand. You can then move the bucket where ever you want and just plug the light in.
posted by Mitheral at 5:58 PM on May 15, 2013

There's an electric fencer unit for $20 here. With a bit of wire strung round wherever they come in that would probably fix the problem. The wire could easily be held in place without any drilling, none of the fancy fittings that shops will try to sell you are actually needed, just suspend the wire without touching conductive materials (e.g metal).
posted by anadem at 8:52 PM on May 15, 2013

If your windows are accessible from the deck, the raccoons may also be after bugs that are attracted to the light in the window after dark--the house I grew up in out in the country had a rotating population of raccoons and possums that showed up after dark to feast on moths and beetles crawling on the window screens.

If this appears to be an attractant, I'd guess that the best way to combat that would be to eliminate as much light as possible--keep lights on the deck itself off, and if you don't use the room/s looking out on the deck, then keep the lights off and the door closed. If you do use those rooms, perhaps blackout curtains drawn after dark.
posted by telophase at 8:09 AM on May 16, 2013

My parents solved their balcony raccoon problem with motion activated lights. You can get some that won't need any installation. Even battery-powered ones.

For what it's worth - we never did figure out what attracted the raccoons to our balcony in the first place. They would steal food scraps from other home's garbage, and bring them to our balcony to eat.
posted by kickingtheground at 9:11 AM on May 16, 2013

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