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Surprisingly often, I deal with the problem of raccoons causing problems in swimming pools. Raccoons love water, and they are drawn to lakes and streams. In fact, the raccoon's latin name, Procyon lotor means "washes with hands" - these animals were so named because they so sometimes wash their hands, and even their food, in water. Cute! But where raccoons live and eat, they poop. And like a lot of animals, they like to hide their feces (like a cat pooping in the sand), and so they like to poop in water. If you have a swimming pool in the home range of a raccoon, it will likely use your pool as a toilet. This is all the more common if you have some shallow steps leading down into the pool. "Help! A raccoon is defecating on the steps of my pool!" I've heard many a distressed homeowner give me that line.
So how do you solve a problem with raccoons in your swimming pool? The best way is often to trap and remove and relocate the animal, so that it no longer has access to your pool in its home range. Raccoons are very crafty and resourceful, and they are also very brazen with people, so tactics that attempt to deter them or scare them off don't usually work.
If you do trap the offending raccoon, please be kind. Raccoons are very intelligent and even emotional animals (it's true!) so it would be nice to drive the animal to an area far away, at least ten miles, and release it. In the below photo, we see an unfortunate case in which a homeowner, in an attempt at poetic justice, drowned the raccoon in the very pool it was using as its latrine. Death by drowning is horrible, so please don't do it.
UPDATE: I had an inquiry about the below photo, and I wrote above that the homeowner had drowned it, because I wanted to make a point that drowning is bad, but the embarrassing truth in this case is that I set the trap right at the edge of the pool, and the raccoon must have either reached out and pulled the trap over, or rolled it, which happens sometimes with trapped raccoons, and it went into the pool. At least that's my theory, because the homeowners said they didn't do it, and they were upset, and I felt very bad about it all. So, lesson learned on my end. Never set a trap too close to the edge of the pool. But the original point still stands: drowning is cruel, either intentional or not, so don't do it on purpose or by accident. If you have permission in your state to relocate the animal on approved land, do so, or euthanize (kill) the animal humanely, with a firearm, shock stick, lethal injection, or CO2 chamber.
Hi David, First of all, let me just say thank you for all of the helpful information you have placed on your website. I will try to be brief in explaining my situation and maybe you can help me from there. I’m just looking for a little guidance before I proceed.
About three weeks ago my pool maintenance guy who comes once a week, told me there was some sort of animal defecating in the pool. There was so much feces accumulated in a matter of a week that by the time he came back the second week, it had clogged up my pool filter. I purchased the property approximately four years ago and I knew it could only mean one thing… raccoons. The stray cats never defecate in the pool or cause this much havoc. Around the same time, we noticed 2 of our soffit vents which were completely intact since we’ve been here, were now torn apart and broken. One of the soffits is located slightly over another part of the roof and the other is next to a palm tree and fence. We assume they only broke those 2 because there were the only 2 areas where they could sit rather comfortably while tearing apart the soffit vent. We then went ahead and cut most of the palm trees down in that area and replaced both soffit vents. The next day, one of the soffit vents was broken again.
Make a long story short, they have made a home in my attic and are living up there. I called animal removal services in my area and they want to charge me $450 dollars just to remove the animal. Of course, that is not including all that it is going to cost me to treat the feces and urine left up there and the possible replacement of the insulation. I can’t afford any of this at this time and I don’t know what to do.
Is there something you could recommend in a do-it-yourself kind of way? We have set up traps and they won’t get in. We suspect it’s a mother with baby raccoons. My neighbor says she saw them but that she won’t get in a trap she has set up either. My neighbors have cats and have put away the cat food and closed off their doggie doors. We have set up food for them with cat food, ham croquettes, tuna fish, coca cola with something else mixed in it, and the list goes on and they won’t bite any of the bait.
Please help. We are desperate and do not have the money to deal with this appropriately. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.
Well, trapping and removal is usually the best option. But if you don't want them pooping in the pool, you could get some wooden plywood boards and pound dozens of long nails through, and make a spiked board and put that on the pool steps, and
hope the raccoons won't go in the pool any more. There's a good chance
it won't work because raccoons are so smart and stubborn, but it's worth a
try iof you can't afford to hire a professional company. But for goodness' sake, don't hurt yourself or anyone else with a board full of nails sticking up!
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