Do Raccoons Swim In Water

Do raccoons swim?

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Raccoons can swim, and they do swim rather well. In fact, it would seem that raccoons are creatures of many talents, with many of them much smarter than most humans would ever give them credit for. It has already been proven that raccoons living in the heart of big cities tend to be smarter than those that live in more rural backdrops. Raccoons have now learned how to open doors, pop open latches on windows, and even sneak into garbage cans … with latches and ties! They’re determined little critters, and they won’t give up without a fight when they find something they deem worthy of fighting for. If they find a food source, for example, they will continue to try to get to that food source unless it has exhausted EVERY available method. Raccoons can work on the same problem for many hours until they finally solve it.

Raccoons love water. In “the wild” they would choose to live close to water. A lake, for example, would provide plenty of insects and smaller animals that the raccoon could prey on, plus there’s a steady source of fresh drinking water that they can also use to groom themselves. On top of that, you will find trees around lakes / water sources usually, and these provide homes and shelter for the raccoon, especially when it is being chased by a scavenger.

It is not unusual to find raccoons swimming in your swimming pool, if you’re lucky enough to have one, and some of you may even have spotted them splashing around in your fish pond too. The raccoons will eat your fish, given half a chance, but they’re quite lazy … They’d much rather opt for an easier snack, such as insects, or a slow fish that doesn’t require much chasing.

You will more than likely find raccoon poop if you have a raccoon in your garden alongside a pool or a pond. They like to poop in ponds. In case you weren’t aware, the scientific name for the humble raccoon is “procyon lotor”, and this translates roughly to “washed with water”. If you’ve ever seen a raccoon eat, it will dunk the food in water to make it softer. It looks as though the animal is washing their hands / the water, however, and this is what has earned them the name.

If you have a rogue raccoon enjoying your pool more than you are, and leaving a small deposit while they’re there, it’s time to take action. Making your pond or pool raccoon-proof is relatively simple, and it’s an easy case of making the steps really difficult to access. Razor or chicken wire can work. The raccoons tend to walk into the water via the steps, leaving their small deposit on the step themselves. If you can stop them from getting to it, you can stop them from doing the disgusting business. Plus, you really don’t want to share your pool with any wild animal, and definitely not a raccoon. Their urine and fees are well known to carry and transit a wide range of diseases, and the contaminated pool water will get in your ears, eyes, nose and mouth.

Raccoons really do love water, so make sure your home is safe. Give us a call today to find out how we can make your ponds or pools much less attractive to animals just like rodents.

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For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does raccoon removal cost? — get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of raccoons — my main raccoon removal info guide.
Example raccoon trapping photographs — get do-it-yourself ideas.
Raccoon job blog — learn from great examples of raccoon jobs I’ve done.
raccoons in the attic

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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.
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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.

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.

See also:  What Racoon Poop Look Like

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.

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