The state of Florida has the most pools, and Miami leads the way. 30.6% of Miami residents have a pool. It is not a surprise. It stays hot nearly year-round, and Miami has an average of 249 sunny days. Not only that, it’s estimated a pool in a Florida home increases the value by 5%-8%!
People aren’t the only ones taking dips. Raccoons love pools too.
Why Do Raccoons Love Pools?
In South Florida, a raccoon’s natural habitat is anywhere there are trees and a source of fresh water. A home with a pool can satisfy all of a raccoon’s needs.
While it’s common lore that raccoons like to wash their food in water before they eat it, scientists have now discovered that they use water for a different purpose. Water makes the pads of a raccoon’s paws more sensitive to what they are holding. The process is called “dousing.” When a raccoon is dousing, it helps them gather information about the food’s texture and ingredients; it helps them distinguish between a tasty morsel and something best set aside.
Raccoon forepaws are covered in tiny spikes that act as sensors. Because more than 60% of a raccoon’s cerebral cortex is dedicated to sensory perception, their hands are incredibly informative tools. Since raccoons are nocturnal, this is especially useful to them as it allows them to “see” their food through this heightened sense of touch.
Raccoon Poop in Pools
If a raccoon has decided that your pool is a safe place for them, they will return regularly. In addition to using the pool to douse, they will poop there too. Raccoons pooping in a pool is not unusual, and you will most likely find their poop in the shallow end, on the steps.
Raccoon poop looks similar to dog poop. It is dark, has broken ends, and will most likely contain seeds and berries, as this is much of what raccoons eat.
Health Risks of Raccoon Poop in Pools
If you find raccoon poop in or around your pool, the pool must be cleaned immediately and thoroughly. Their feces often contain the eggs of a worm called Baylisascaris procyonis, which can infect humans, particularly children, causing severe neurological illness. These eggs can be swallowed while swimming in an infected pool. Unfortunately, while the chlorine in your pool will kill much of what can harm you, it does not kill these eggs.
How to Clean Your Pool of Raccoon Poop
If your pool was contaminated by raccoon poop, you could follow these steps to clean it and make it safe for swimming again:
- Backwash the pool filter.
- Drain and hose the pool thoroughly.
- Use disposable gloves and change all filters, double bagging them in garbage bags. Throw your gloves away in the bag before sealing the garbage bag and disposing of it in the trash.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water.
- Refill your pool.
How to Keep Raccoons Out of Your Pool
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is much easier to keep raccoons out of your pool than to clean up afterward. Raccoons are smart and resourceful but will follow a path of least resistance. Limiting access to food, water, and shelter will go a long way.
Four Ways to Keep a Raccoon Out of Your Pool
- Keeping your pool covered and its fence closed securely.
- Removing trash cans where they can be easily accessed and keeping their lids tightly closed.
- Bringing pet food and water inside.
- Cleaning up around bird feeders as raccoons also love the seeds and nuts.
Should you suspect you have a raccoon living on your property or in your attic or chimney, Critter Control has the expertise and experience to eradicate raccoons humanely from your property.