Do Raccoons Swim In Pools

Do raccoons swim?

Raccoons have found a way to survive for thousands of years. They are one of the most adaptable creatures, who use their sharp claws, there thick coat of fur, and their natural instincts to be able to adapt to virtually any kind of situation that they are in.

Think about the fact that firm many years in America, raccoons were hunted for their fur to be used in clothing and enhance. This left many of the species of raccoons near extinction, but they have continued to survive and thrive, adapting to the world where houses and swimming pools have overcome and taken over the vast majority of their natural habitat where they have lived for thousands of years before Europeans came to this continent.

To survive, they have often had to move or adapt to new locations to be able to find food and shelter in which to survive. Many of these locations have been along rivers or creeks and that may make you wonder if raccoons swim?

The truth is that raccoons are actually quite excellent swimmers. Like most mammals that you will encounter, raccoons have the capability to swim, much like a cat or a dog. What separates a raccoon from many of these other animals is that they don’t just know how to swim but are actually quite excellent swimmers.

Because of the habitats that raccoons normally resided, there are a vast number of creeks and ponds that can be found in these areas. If they were unable to navigate themselves through the waters they would be denying themselves the opportunity to be able to find a vast amount of food.

Raccoons are known to eat such things as frogs, shellfish, and even fish. To acquire these meals, they must be able to get into the water to be able to capture them. While some forms of these foods, like frogs, can be found along the shoreline, it is more likely that the raccoon would find fish or shellfish in the water itself. This is how their ability to swim really comes in handy.

A raccoon can swim quite proficiently, even buckets head underwater for a time, to be able to capture and haul in its prey to eat. Because of their sharp claws, they are able to grasp at and control fish and other wildlife that is in the water so that they can turn that into their next meal.

For those who have a swimming pool, you are probably already well aware that a raccoon can swim quite well. There are many instances where people who live in areas where raccoons are known to reside have awoken to find one of these critters making its way across their pool. This can happen because the raccoon is looking to capture something that is in the water, or simply because it finds your pool a shortcut of sorts to get across your yard.

Either way, you should be aware that a raccoon can be prone to get inside your pool. Read more: Raccoon Control, how to get rid of raccoons, Raccoon Feces, How to get raccoons out of the ceiling.

Raccoon Poo and Feces in Swimming Pool

Sometimes raccoons poop in swimming pools. They like water. The scientific name, procyon lotor means «washes with hands» because they like water so much. They like to hide their feces in the water, so they often poo in the pool, often on the first step. If you want to see photographs, click here for raccoon droppings and feces identification.

How to keep a raccoon out of your swimming pool.

1) Install a deterrent — Raccoons usually walk onto the steps, and poop in the shallow water on the first step or two. So if you can prevent them from accessing this step, they’ll stay out of the pool. You can install toddler or pet fencing around the steps. Other people have used chicken wire or even razor wire. Another option is to simply get thin wooden boards and pound nails in through the board to create spikes, and place these boards on the steps, with the spikes sticking up.

See also:  How Old Are Raccoons When They Leave The Nest

2) Trapping and removal — any time a raccoon is repeatedly engaging in an unwanted behavior, it will likely continue. They keep the same general travel routes and behaviors every night. So you can set traps near the pool, and trap and relocate the animals. Read more about raccoon trapping tips here.

Can you get diseases from raccoon feces in the swimming pool?
Raccoon diseases in pool or on property — Anywhere a raccoon travels so, too, does disease. This isn’t to say that all raccoons are carrying illnesses, but enough of the animals are to warrant caution when one is inside of your home, around your property, or in your swimming pool. The most common illnesses associated with diseases being left behind by raccoons in an attic are roundworms, giardia, and leptospirosis. Roundworms and giardia are intestinal parasites. Both parasites live in the gastrointestinal system, though roundworms tend to cause more systemic issues than giardia. Too many roundworms will result in vomiting and diarrhea, causing hemorrhaging of the intestinal lining. Giardia can overpopulate the intestinal tract and cause watery stool, but it’s not as damaging to the organs as the roundworm. Leptospirosis is a different type of illness. This bacterial infection is transmitted through infected urine. It can remain dangerous for years after leaving a body. If you’ve had a raccoon in your pool, chances are it has both urinated and defecated in there. When cleaning the space, make sure you wear gloves, a respirator mask, and eye protection. Roundworm eggs are light enough to be carried on a puff of air. It’s bad enough you might ingest one from touching your face with your hands; don’t let a roundworm egg get sucked into your lungs.

Here’s an email I received from an astute reader:

David, I wrote to you because your website requested people who had dead raccoons or raccoon poop to be tested for the round worm parasite. I had a coon crap in my pool and I need to find someone who can test a sample. Can you help me find someone qualified to put it under a microscope? Thanks, Brian

My response: I don’t think there’s any danger from poop in a pool. The chlorine will kill anything. I have no idea where to test for roundworm.

David, I would be careful telling people that chlorine will do the trick, raccoon roundworm has been deadly in 50% of the cases of human infection, and the eggs are virtually indestructible with chemicals (most sites say they have to be burned).

Thanks for telling me! I’ve never actually seen a roundworm infection, but I thought chlorine would kill the eggs. I’ll keep this info in my memory, and maybe post it on my website somewhere. I’m a wildlife removal expert, not an infectious disease expert, so maybe I shouldn’t ever give any advice on diseases.

Not a problem at all .. happy to give you the info. It is «scary shit» so to speak! From what I was able to learn on the Internet from various University studies and state departments of health, it is mostly prevalent in the upper midwest and California where 60 -90% of raccoons are infected. However, only 10 raccoons in Georgia have been discovered with it and 3 in Florida (2 near Tallahassee and 1 in Miami). The raccoon poop is full of millions of worm larvae eggs. A person has to swallow the eggs to get the disease; the worms travel to your brain and mess you up very badly if they don’t kill you. About 20 cases have been reported in the U.S. and 10 have died; the rest were blinded and essentially retarded from the worms. If a raccoon poops in a pool, one Michigan site I found says that the pool needs to be treated as though it contains deadly hazardous waste until a poop sample (or dead or alive raccoon) can be tested. The eggs are very indestructible and can last in chlorinated water for years. Here’s another problem, the damned eggs are about 60 picometers in diameter . far smaller than the finest particles a pool filter can pick up (5 microns). 1 micron is equal to 1,000,000 picometers! So it really is a problem if it gets in the pool. If you ever need to follow up on testing of it, this is a good place to start.

If you do trap a raccoon, please don’t drown it in the pool. Also, be aware that raccoons can grab outside the cage, and pull themselves into the pool, as apparently happened in the above photo. You can keep raccoons out of the pool by installing a board filled with upward nails (spikes) to prevent it from walking on the first step and pooping in the pool.

See also:  When Is Breeding Season For Raccoons

Raccoons & Pools

Raccoons can be pests and can spread germs to humans. It is important to keep raccoons out of your pool and watch for raccoon feces (poop) in and around your pool. Raccoon feces can sometimes contain the eggs of a worm called Baylisascaris procyonis, which can infect humans, particularly children, and cause severe neurologic illness.

Baylisascaris is a roundworm parasite that commonly infects raccoons. Raccoons infected with Baylisascaris can be found in all parts of the United States 1–13 . When people are exposed to Baylisascaris eggs they can become ill.

Baylisascaris infections in people are very rarely diagnosed. Swallowing a few Baylisascaris eggs can result in no or few symptoms. However, swallowing a large number of eggs can result in severe disease that affects the nervous system or eyes 14–17 .

The parasite is spread by swallowing Baylisascaris eggs, which are found in the feces of raccoons that are infected with Baylisascaris. People can be exposed to Baylisascaris eggs in soil, water, or on objects that have been contaminated with feces from an infected raccoon 14–17 .

Additional information on the disease can be found on the CDC Baylisascaris Website.

Although chlorine in pools will kill most germs that a raccoon could carry into the water, it does not kill Baylisascaris eggs. If raccoon feces or a dead raccoon are found in the pool:

  • Close the pool to swimmers. Then
    • Test the raccoon or its feces for Baylisascaris. If the feces or raccoon tests positive for Baylisascaris, clean the pool as described in the following sections.
    • Clean the pool as described in the following sections, if you do not want to test the raccoon feces.

  • Put on disposable gloves and collect the feces or retrieve the dead raccoon. Double bag the feces or animal in plastic garbage bags. Remove gloves and place them in the garbage bags. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterwards.
  • Contact Animal Control (the local government agency in charge of animal issues) or your local health department about testing raccoon feces for Baylisascaris eggs. The only way to find out if a raccoon is infected with Baylisascaris is to test the feces.
  • If the lab test shows evidence of Baylisascaris eggs, then you need to clean your pool as described below. If the lab test is negative, you do not need to clean your pool as described below.

Because Baylisascaris eggs are particularly tough, adding chlorine to the water will not kill them. If a lab test has confirmed that the raccoon was infected with Baylisascaris or you don’t know if the raccoon was infected because the raccoon’s feces were not tested, there are two options for cleaning your pool.

*Remember to close the pool to swimmers until you have finished cleaning the pool.

  • Filter the pool for a minimum of 24 hours and then backwash the pool filter.
  • Put on disposable gloves to replace the material doing the filtering (if possible). Double bag the discarded material in plastic garbage bags. Remove gloves and place them in the garbage bags. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterwards.
  • Backwash the pool filter.
  • Drain and hose down the pool.
  • Put on disposable gloves to replace the material doing the filtering (if possible). Double bag the discarded material in plastic garbage bags. Remove gloves and place them in the garbage bags. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterwards
  • Refill the pool.

Raccoons usually choose certain locations to defecate (poop) and then use those same places repeatedly. Raccoons can also be attracted to areas where humans live and play. In pools, raccoons usually defecate in the shallow areas (for example, on the steps).

Here are some tips for keeping raccoons out of your pool:

  • Cover the pool area that has been visited by raccoons.
  • Keep the fence around the pool closed.
  • Find out if anyone in your area is feeding raccoons, leaving pet food outside, leaving uncovered trash outside, or using trash cans that are not properly secured. Discourage this behavior as it could be attracting animals, particularly raccoons, to your pool.
  • Contact Animal Control (local government office in charge of animal issues) or a pest control removal service to relocate the animal.
See also:  When Do Raccoons Have Babies In Ontario

How to Stop Raccoons From Defecating in the Pool

About the Author:

Richard Toole

Richard Toole started writing for eHow in 2007 and enjoys writing about a fairly wide range of topics, including sports, hunting, health and fitness, music, and cooking. Toole first got into writing during college at the recommendation of a professor. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing from Methodist University.

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Raccoons are a common pest that invades garbage cans, attics, cellars, even swimming pools. Though raccoons are cute and sometimes fun to watch, they can become vicious when agitated and spread diseases and parasites. Food left outside will often attract raccoons as will open garbage containers. Another attraction for some raccoons is a swimming pool. Raccoons may visit your pool simply to drink, while others may actually enjoy swimming in it. If raccoons begin to visit your pool regularly, you are likely to find feces in and around the pool. The only way to stop raccoons from defecating in your pool is to remove them or discourage them from visiting.

What to Do When Raccoons Drop Feces in Your Pool?

Your pool is for your enjoyment as well as for family and friends; however, uninvited furry guests may also believe your pool is for their benefit. While other mammal species such as squirrels and chipmunks are not keen on swimming, raccoons love the water and may use your pool for an afternoon swim. Since raccoons defecate in the same areas where they eat and sleep, your pool can become infected. Use cultural control methods as well as humane traps to discourage raccoons from using your pool as their personal toilet.

Raccoon Description

Raccoons are perhaps most recognizable for the black «masks» over their eyes, as well as their bushy, black-ringed tails. These otherwise light gray mammals are found in a variety of environments, including marshes, forests, cities and prairies, due to their willingness to consume just about anything. Raccoons grow anywhere between 24 and 38 inches in length and can weigh 4 to 23 lbs. They make their nests in tree holes, fallen logs and even house attics. Raccoons are prone to attacking trash cans, as they feed on fruit and plants, along with insects, mice, crayfish and other aquatic creatures.

Raccoons and Swimming Pools

Raccoons are attracted to swimming pools, as they love water and will often reside close to lakes and streams. In addition to swimming, part of these mammals’ water attraction is their habit of «washing» their front paws and food before consumption, or dunking their food in a body of water. As with cats, raccoons prefer to hide their excrement and therefore will use your swimming pool as a toilet. Feces are often found around shallow pool steps.

Health Risks

Health risks pertaining to raccoon excrement in your pool include the eggs of the worm baylisascaris procyonis, which are often found in raccoon feces. This roundworm parasite is commonly found in raccoons and can pose a danger to humans if large quantities of eggs are swallowed. This occurs from swimming in an infected pool, though such infections are rarely diagnosed. Swallowing a few eggs generally does not result in any symptoms; however, if large quantities are swallowed, they can cause severe neurological illness. Chlorine does not kill these eggs, though it does kill other germs a raccoon may be harboring.

Cleaning and Control

Pools infected with raccoon excrement require backwashing of the filter, as well as draining and hosing the pool. If possible, replace the filter material, and wear disposable gloves while doing so. Double-bag the discarded material, along with the disposable gloves, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water following the cleaning. Keep your pool covered whenever possible to keep raccoons out, and keep all fence doors to your pool shut. Avoid keeping trash cans near your pool area, and make sure all cans on your property are tightly sealed. Set raccoon traps around your pool area to catch the mammals for relocation at least 10 miles from your home. Discuss relocation options with the animal issues department of your local government to avoid breaking any laws concerning wildlife in your area. Call your local animal control to remove the animal if possible.

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