Whenever you see a squirrel, it’s always fascinating to watch them in their natural habitat. However, we say this with caution because what’s not-so-fascinating is when you find a squirrel swimming in your pool!
Most of the time, squirrels get in your pool because they’re thirsty or by accident. Squirrels spend most of their time foraging on the ground or climbing trees, so swimming is not a normal way for them to pass the time.
If you’ve seen a squirrel taking a dip in your pool, it can be frightening AND annoying. If this is happening to you – don’t fret just yet, because today we’ve got some easy tips to share with you on how to keep squirrels out of your swimming pool.
- Squirrels may be attracted to your swimming pool because they are thirsty or they may fall in by accident.
- Habitat management is the most effective way to keep squirrels out of the yard and out of the pool.
- Understanding what attracts squirrels to your yard and pool is the first step in creating a deterrent plan unique to your situation.
So, Why Do Squirrels Go In Pools?
It may sound surprising, but squirrels do end up in swimming pool sometimes! But why would these acrobatic animals choose to swim in a pool rather than jump around in the trees?
- Thirst: Squirrels sometimes are in swimming pools because they are thirsty, and your pool offers them water.
- Attractions: Another reason squirrels can be in your pool is that they accidentally landed in your pool after being attracted to the environment surrounding it, which may offer shelter and a food source.
- Accidents: Since squirrels often climb on branches or on the ledge of your pools, they can also fall into your swimming pool without meaning to.
But the truth is – if squirrels are in your pool – they’re getting into your yard for some reason! Head on over to our article If you’re wondering why squirrels are in your yard in the first place!
Can Squirrels Actually Swim?
You may be wondering, do squirrels swim in pools? The short answer is yes, squirrels can swim. A journal article by Jonathan Pauli in the Northeastern Naturalist actually proves that they can swim up to 2km/hr! But just because they can swim doesn’t mean they want to, and usually end up in pools by accident.
There are ways to prevent squirrels from getting in your pool, and that’s what we are going to talk about below!
13 Tips To Keep Squirrels Out Of Your Swimming Pool
There are many easy things you can do right away to keep squirrels out of your swimming pool. The reason why squirrels end up in your swimming pool in the first place is usually because they are attracted to something specific in the environment.
Just remember, if you think you have a squirrel infestation or that it’s overwhelming to handle, contact a professional to assess the situation immediately. Our nationwide pest control finder can help with that and connect you with a local pest specialist.
So, without further ado, here are our 13 easy tips to keep squirrels out of your swimming pool!
1. Add A Barrier
One of the first things you could do if you’re having a squirrel problem is to add a barrier around the perimeter of your pool so that squirrels don’t accidentally fall into it.
If a squirrel is walking on the side of your pool, it may fall in if they get distracted by a predator from above. A squirrel may dive into the water to keep safe, or they may fall into the pool by accident. To prevent this from happening, adding a barrier like the HappyBuy Pool Fence is an excellent option. It is easy to install and removable.
Squirrels will not approach the pool when it’s in use, so the only time you need to worry about barriers is when the pool isn’t being used. Barriers are super effective at keeping unwanted critters like squirrels at a safe distance from your pool.
2. Tidy Up Your Property and Maintain Your Landscape
The best long-term solution we can offer you to help keep squirrels out of your swimming pool is to clean up the surroundings and maintain a tidy and neat environment.
At the end of the day, food and shelter attract a squirrel, and if there are food scraps or a lot of brush and overgrown shrubbery around, a squirrel will end up in your yard and possibly in your swimming pool.
Here are a few tips to keep your yard neat and tidy and unattractive to squirrels:
- Secure garbage can lids
- Bag the garbage that is in the can
- Pick up any fallen acorns, fruit, or vegetables
- Trim shrubbery and grass regularly
For a closer look at what is attracting squirrels near your swimming pool, check out our article on the things that attract squirrels to your yard.
3. Trim Tree Branches Near Your Swimming Pool
Many types of squirrels live in trees. If you have low-hanging branches or ones directly over your pool, squirrels become attracted to the water since it’s the most accessible source!
Trimming tree branches is a great place to start to keep squirrels out of your swimming pool. If there is less space for squirrels to roam in the trees and to settle into – the less likely they are to stay around, and then the less likely they are to be in your pool!
4. Add Rescue Ramps To Your Swimming Pool
If you are noticing a lot of squirrels lately in your swimming pool, it doesn’t always mean you have a squirrel problem, but rather, it can mean that the squirrels accidentally got into your pool and are just having a hard time getting out.
Adding little rescue ramps like this 2-Pack Animal Critter Saving Escape Ramp will help get any squirrels that wind up in your pool out. These are also helpful to frogs, mice, chipmunks, and other little critters that fall into the pool.
Giving squirrels, and actually, all types of small animals, a chance to escape on their own can be just what you need to control this squirrel problem. Things like this sometimes happen, and if you live in more wooded areas, and have a lot of trees nearby, it’s not unusual for a squirrel to end up in your pool from time to time.
5. Install Automatic Sprinklers
Although squirrels can tolerate water, they don’t like being randomly sprayed with it! By installing automatic sprinklers in your yard, squirrels will become startled when the sprinkles turn on and will leave your yard as soon as they can.
If you don’t want to or can’t install sprinklers, a motion-activated sprinkler is just as effective. The Orbit Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler is an excellent way to scare squirrels away without harming them. They’ll get a blast of harmless water and think twice about coming near your pool again!
Speaking of making squirrels feel unsafe (I know, that sounds mean) another great way to deter squirrels is through sound – head on over to our article to find out how some sounds can scare squirrels away!
6. Use A Net To Cover Your Pool
Another great way to keep squirrels out of your pool is to add a net to cover your pool when the pool is not in use!
If you’re having a squirrel problem, adding netting to the pool will deter any squirrels from taking a dip at their own leisure, and in case of any accidental fall-ins, a net will help the squirrels get out quickly and efficiently.
PACETAP Pond Netting Kit is a great option that is used to keep leaves and predators out of ponds but works just as well for covering your pool and keeping squirrels out.
7. Add Predator Decoys To Your Outdoor Space
Squirrels have a few different predators that they have to look out for, both flying in the sky, like Goshawks and Owls, and on the ground, like Bobcats, Foxes, Weasels, Snakes, and Martens.
By adding some of these faux predator decoys into your yard, you will be able to deter squirrels from coming into your yard and into your pool. For a complete list of squirrel predators, head over to our article on the natural predators that eat squirrels.
- Owl: Owl Statue for Garden & Outdoors by Galashield [Set of 3] – is a set of 3 owl decoys that can be easily added to your outdoor space. Placing these in your gardens to deter squirrels from a food source, perched on a deck, or perched directly near your pool will be enough to stop squirrels from getting into your pool. This decoy also has reflective eyes that light up at night just in case there are any nighttime squirrel stragglers heading in your direction after hours.
- Hawk: Another decoy that is great to add to your space, and specifically onto your tree branches to deter squirrels from settling in your tree is this Fake Flying Hawk Decoy by BriteNway. This decoy is perfect because it hangs off the trees, and you can strategically place it if you notice a spot that squirrels tend to be attracted to.
- Fox: Adding a fox decoy is also a great way to keep squirrels away. We found this actually adorable Design Toscano Woodie The Woodland Fox decoy that, although cute to us, will not be cute to a squirrel.
- Coyote: A coyote decoy is another viable option in keeping squirrels away because no matter what, these big, lurking, territorial-looking decoys will make a squirrel suspicious. We came across this Flambeau Outdoors Lone Howler Coyote Decoy that will surely scare any squirrel away.
8. Remove Bird Feeders
Another simple way to deter squirrels from your yard and keep squirrels out of your swimming pool is to remove any bird feeders you may have around your yard!
Bird Feeders attract squirrels because they are usually filled with seed, which is one of the major components of a squirrel’s diet. Here’s a table of the most attractive seeds that can be found in a bird feeder:
|Attractiveness to Squirrels
If you take away any bird feeders from your space, you will be taking away a food source and the squirrels will have no choice but to go look for food elsewhere. Having bird feeders in your yard, and especially around your pool, will only attract the squirrels to your environment, so getting rid of them will also get rid of the squirrels!
Wondering what other foods might be attracting squirrels to your yard? We have a fantastic guide on the plants that squirrels eat so you can be sure to avoid planting them!
9. Use Chili Peppers Near The Pool
In addition to all the above tips, adding specific scents to your backyard that squirrels hate will keep them out of your swimming pool.
Chill Pepper is a scent that squirrels can’t stand due to its spiciness. Chili pepper has capsaicin which can irritate a squirrel’s senses. When a squirrel’s sense of smell is compromised, it makes it difficult for them to locate food and sense predators. So, if they catch a whiff of this spicy aroma in the area, they’re going to high-tail it elsewhere.
Taking chili powder and sprinkling it directly around the perimeter of your pool and within any gardens or landscaping that’s in your yard will help keep squirrels away from your property and your pool.
Another way to use chili powder is to create a spray solution with it. Mix a generous amount of chili powder in a spray bottle with water, shake it up, and spray around squirrel-prone areas. For a more in-depth look at the effect of hot peppers on squirrels, check out our piece on why hot peppers work to repel squirrels!
10. Spray A White Vinegar Solution Around Your Pool
White vinegar has a poignant aroma that is not only strong but lingers for hours, and luckily squirrels hate it. Spraying white vinegar around your swimming pool, almost like a barrier, will help keep squirrels away and out of your swimming pool.
Take a spray bottle and add equal parts water to equal parts white vinegar. Shake it up, and generously spray around the perimeter of your pool to help keep squirrels away.
The aroma of white vinegar is way too strong for a squirrel, and it will overwhelm their sense of scent. Likewise, the white vinegar will be too strong for a squirrel to rely on its scent to find food or it will mask their ability to sniff out predators that can be nearby, which is why squirrels won’t stay around for long if they smell white vinegar.
You can read more about why vinegar works to repel squirrels here.
11. Sprinkle Coffee Grounds Around Your Swimming Pool
There’s nothing like the smell of a freshly brewed pot of coffee, right? Well, to us humans, yes, we love it, but for squirrels – not so much. Squirrels hate the smell of coffee grounds because the smell can be threatening since it’s something unfamiliar that becomes present outdoors.
Besides just the smell, the texture of coffee grounds especially used coffee grounds, is very unfamiliar to a squirrel and will deter them. Squirrels aren’t going to be courageous and try out something new and unknown – it just isn’t in their instinct to do that.
By taking coffee grounds and sprinkling them around your pool or adding them to the soil in your gardens, you will keep squirrels away from your pool.
12. Use Onions To Deter Squirrels
Another smell that squirrels absolutely hate is onions. Onions contain alliums which is what produces their strong, burny smell. That scent is so overpowering to the olfactory glands of a squirrel that they will avoid onions at all costs.
Here are a few ways to use onions to deter squirrels from your pool:
- Chop an onion and sprinkle it around the perimeter of your pool
- Sprinkle onion powder near the pool
- Hange a peel onion in a tree branch near squirrel-prone areas
- Plant onions in your garden
Hot peppers, onions, and coffee grounds aren’t the only smells that will repel squirrels. You can find a complete list of the scents that squirrels hate here!
13. Grow Plants That Squirrels Hate
Speaking about plants, there are a few plants that squirrels hate and will stay far away from. Growing these plants near your pool will help keep squirrels away.
Alliums are plants that will deter squirrels. Alliums consist of onion, garlic, shallots, leeks, scallions, chives, and more!
When crushed or otherwise injured, these plants release their strong, powerful smell into the air. Squirrels pick up this scent from afar and aren’t likely to get any closer due to the overpowering scent. Squirrels need their sense of smell to find food and avoid predators, so when they can’t smell, they feel they are in danger, which is what keeps them away from certain areas where alliums are planted.
For more info on alliums, check out our article about how garlic keeps squirrels away to learn more!
Squirrels hate daffodils, and lucky for us, if we plant them to keep squirrels away, we not only will succeed with that but will have a beautiful flower to look at!
Daffodils are poisonous to rodents, and instinctually, squirrels know this! Planting daffodils in your gardens or around your pool will keep squirrels far away as they will immediately deem your outdoor space unsafe.
Do you know when someone is wearing a really floral-smelling perfume and it kind of gets stuck in your nose for a bit? Well, this is EXACTLY what a hyacinth does to a squirrel since it produces such a strong, floral aroma.
Planting hyacinths around the perimeter of your pool will not only bring some nice color to the space but will also repel squirrels from coming too close.
That’s A Wrap!
Squirrels are fun to watch, sure, but they can be a nuisance when you find them swimming around in your pool! Squirrels might be in your pool because they are thirsty or because they fell in by accident. One thing is for sure – the more attractive your yard is, the more likely squirrels will be in your pool!
So, let’s recap 13 easy tips to keep squirrels out of your swimming pool:
- Add a barrier
- Maintain your yard and landscape
- Trim tree branches near the pool
- Add a rescue ramp in the pool
- Install automatic sprinklers
- Add netting to the pool when not in use
- Predator decoys
- Remove bird feeders
- Sprinkle chili powder
- Create a white vinegar spray
- Sprinkle coffee grounds
- Use onions
- Grow plants that squirrels hate near the pool
With these 13 tips in mind, you’re sure to deter squirrels and many other pests from taking up residence in your yard and swimming pool!
Benson, E. (2013). The urbanization of the eastern gray squirrel in the United States. The Journal of American History, 100(3), 691-710.
Dunn, M., Marzano, M., Forster, J., & Gill, R. M. (2018). Public attitudes towards “pest” management: Perceptions on squirrel management strategies in the UK. Biological Conservation, 222, 52-63.
Ortiz, J. L., & Muchlinski, A. E. (2015). Food selection of coexisting Western gray squirrels and Eastern fox squirrels in a native California botanic garden in Claremont, California. Bulletin, Southern California Academy of Sciences, 114(2), 98-103.
Salmon, T. P., & Lickliter, R. E. (2006). Wildlife pest control around gardens and homes (Vol. 21385). UCANR Publications.
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