It’s always scary to see a bunch of raccoons hanging near your home – but it’s arguably even worse when you see a bunch of raccoons in your swimming pool! Although there is no debating on how cute these animals are, if you’re seeing raccoons in your swimming pool – it’s time to act fast. But don’t you worry, because today we got some easy tips on how to keep raccoons out of your swimming pool for good!
Raccoons love water and often like to wash their front paws or food before they eat it. To keep raccoons out of your swimming pool, make sure to keep your pool covered, remove any vegetation in your yard, keep your pool lit, and use scents that raccoons hate such as hot pepper to deter them.
If you’re having a raccoon problem – we’re here to help. So, keep on reading to find out 13 easy tips to keep raccoons out of your swimming pool!
Do Raccoons Get Into Swimming Pools?
The simple answer is – Yes! Raccoons are very attracted to swimming pools, and there are a few reasons below:
- According to Wildlife NYC, raccoons have an instinct to wash their food before they consume it. They like to dunk their food in a water source – almost as if they are washing it.
- Raccoons like to live by a water source. So, your pool, matched with any nearby food source (like untidy garbage, food scraps, or certain plants or trees), is a prime residential location for a raccoon.
- Raccoons hide their excretions and may use your pool to do so. I know, yuck!
- They just love water! Simple as that, raccoons love water, so if they come across an unattained pool – they may just go for a dip.
So, if you’re finding raccoons in your swimming pool, there’s a good chance that they are present because the yard is set up perfectly for them. They may even think they’re going to catch some fish!
However, it’s not too late to make your surroundings less comfortable for a raccoon and more comfortable for you and your family – so keep on reading to find out more!
How Long Should A Pool Be Closed After Finding A Raccoon In It?
According to the CDC, raccoons can spread a ton of germs and bring other nasty things to your swimming pool, especially since they can sometimes use your swimming pool to relieve themselves! Yes, we said it, and although gross to hear – it’s so important to be careful when dealing with a raccoon in your swimming pool.
The CDC recommends closing your pool to all swimmers until you have cleansed the pool. If you see any droppings, have it tested and contact animal control. Whether your pool was contaminated will help decide your next steps for reopening.
After taking the precautions above, if you see raccoons in your swimming pool, there are ways to prevent it from happening again, and keep raccoons away for good! So, without further ado, here are 13 Easy Tips To Keep Raccoons Out Of Your Swimming Pool!
13 Easy Tips To Keep Raccoons Out Of Your Swimming Pool
Reduce The Amount Of Food Scraps Outside
The first thing you have to do to keep raccoons out of your swimming pool is to make sure that there are no food scraps available for raccoons to eat.
We all know raccoons love the garbage and digging for food, so, if you start by removing the food source, you’re reducing your chance of having raccoons nearby.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, closing up garbage cans and taking in any pet food bowls will help keep raccoons away from your swimming pool.
It’s a simple method to take to ensure that you are not attracting raccoons to your outside space.
Fruits from trees like apples, figs, pears, acorns, or berries, are other sources of food that may be around your yard. According to the USDA Wildlife Services, raccoons are omnivores, which means they will eat about anything and everything.
So, by keeping your yard free from food scraps, and by maintaining the tidiness of any debris from trees and plants that you may have, you can help keep raccoons out of your swimming pool.
Keep Your Swimming Pool Covered When It’s Not Being Used
One of the best ways to keep raccoons out of your swimming pool is to cover the pool when it’s not being used. Purchasing a solar cover like this Blue Wave Solar Blanket, will help protect your swimming pool from raccoons and other unwanted pests, especially during the night.
The Blue Wave Solar Blanket comes in various sizes and can fit all types of pools. Besides helping with your raccoon problem, the Blue Wave Solar Blanket conserves energy, minimizes heat loss, reduces evaporation, and is extremely durable.
Keeping your pool covered will help keep raccoons out of your pool because raccoons like to dip their paws in and catch any insects that are swimming around, but if there is no access to the water, raccoons won’t stay around.
A pool cover will deter the raccoons, and they most likely will move on to another location to find what they are looking for.
Keep Vegetation Away From Your Swimming Pool
Raccoons like to eat garden crops, so much like keeping food scraps at bay, if you’re having a raccoon problem, ensure that no vegetables or fruits are growing near your pool.
Moving vegetable gardens far enough away from your pool will work to keep raccoons away. Ideally, being able to fence the garden off somehow will give you the best odds of keeping the raccoons out of the gardens, and then out of your yard.
If you have a fence surrounding your yard and pool, it is ideal to put the vegetable garden on the other side of the fence, creating a barrier between your yard and garden. This way, if you have a raccoon come near the garden, they won’t see the pool right away and will hopefully keep moving on by.
Run an Automatic Swimming Pool Cleaner
Having an automatic pool cleaner go off in the middle of the night will startle a raccoon, and keep them away from your yard. Raccoons are going to be fearful of anything lurking in your swimming pool.
Since raccoons are nocturnal, they are up at night when people and other predators are usually asleep. So, imagine how scared a raccoon will be if they see or hear something move in the still of night, and produce a loud sound under the pool water.
To a raccoon, a pool cleaner will be an unusual component in the backyard, and they’re not going to “test the waters” to see if it’s safe or not, literally and figuratively.
Leave Large Inflatable Rafts Or Pool Toys In The Swimming Pool
Another way to keep raccoons out of your swimming pool is to purchase some extra-large inflatable toys or rafts to keep afloat in your swimming pool.
Since raccoons are relatively large and can weigh up to 40 pounds according to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, they have larger predators like alligators, hawks, owls, coyotes, wolves, snakes, bobcats, and lions – and although you may not have some of these predators in your backyard, you can pretend to with inflatables!
If you want to have some fun, purchasing this extra-large Intex Shark Ride On Float or this JasonWell Inflatable Dinosaur Pool Float will help keep raccoons away at night, plus, have fun during the day with your family
Pool floats are an easy, yet effective way to add “predators” to your yard in a safe, and manageable way. It’ll also give the raccoon another way to exit your pool if they do jump in!
Let Your Dog Patrol The Area Around Your Swimming Pool
Speaking of predators, if you have a dog, give your dog a job – and let them patrol the swimming pool area!
If a raccoon smells a dog nearby or physically sees one, there’s a good chance that they won’t be coming around your swimming pools or yard for that matter.
Even if your dog wouldn’t hurt a fly, dogs of all sizes pose a threat to a raccoon, and they will not stay around if they feel they are at risk.
Tidy Up And Maintain Your Property
One of the most important long-term ways to make your yard unattractive to a raccoon, but arguably more attractive to a human, is to tidy up and maintain your property. Think clean lines, trimmed bushes and grass, secured garbage can lids, and raked leaves – and maintaining the condition.
Often, preventing raccoons and all types of unwanted pests can boil down to how you maintain and keep your property. Overgrown shrubs and vegetation, piles of leaves and other materials, tall grasses and garbage, all lead to wildlife problems.
Raccoons’ den near water, trees, and other hollowed spots but they particularly like brush piles, dense vegetation, haystacks, and rock crevices.
But that’s not all. Raccoons also often live in urban cities, which shows their capabilities to adapt. With this in mind, keeping up with your own backyard maintenance is the best thing that you could do to prevent a raccoon issue.
If you’d like, you can take a look at our list of the best raccoon repellents to supplement your newly cleaned yard!
Trim Tree Branches That Hang Above Your Swimming Pool
Another great way to keep raccoons out of your swimming pool is by trimming and pruning any tree branches that may hang over your pool or hang into your yard.
There’s a good chance that if you have seen a raccoon in your lifetime, you’ve seen one in a tree, staring back at you – am I right? Besides just creeping you out, the reason they’re in a tree is that raccoons can also den in hollowed-out trees, and often, they have babies nearby in the trees.
According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, raccoons will have their kits in tree cavities, so if you notice any trees in your yard that would be ideal for a den, it’s best to get ahead of the game to prevent raccoons from ending up in your swimming pool and trim the branches.
Once a raccoon dens, it’s going to be staying around for a while, as they hide their kits in the trees to keep them away from predators. If you have your swimming pool right by a tree that has raccoons, they’re going to get into your swimming pool whether you see it or not!
Knowing where raccoons nest is also important when keeping them away from your swimming pool. Take a look at these 6 places raccoons nest!
Also, if you notice the raccoons are already in a nearby tree, taking measures like calling a professional and then adding a pool cover, inflatables, or any of these tips today to help safely deter them from your swimming pool.
Plant Rose Bushes or Globe Thistle Around Your Swimming Pool
Experimenting with certain plants that raccoons hate is another great way to keep them away from your swimming pool.
By planting rose bushes and globe thistle around your swimming pool as a barrier, you will keep raccoons out of your swimming pool. Raccoons hate both plants because of their prickly and thorny nature.
Since raccoons have dexterous hands, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife, they grab objects with them. And they hate nothing more than getting pricked by a thorn – I mean, understandably.
Planting these plants around your pool can act like a thorny barrier that will frighten raccoons.
Plant Goji Berry Plants Around Your Swimming Pool
Another plant that raccoons hate is a goji berry plant, so planting them around your pool will help deter raccoons.
Like we said earlier, raccoons eat berries, and these goji berries leave an extremely bitter taste on the tongue of a raccoon, which makes them avoid these berries at all costs. Or, if a raccoon tries it, they will know right away to stay away from them from here on out.
Planting goji berries around the perimeter of your pool, or having them in pots around your pool, will become this bitter barrier that a raccoon will not want to go near.
Again, they could simply walk past the berries, but it’s just another deterrent for them.
Install Motion-Activated Spotlights That Shine On Your Swimming Pool
Another thing that raccoons hate is bright light. Remember, these nocturnal creatures are used to being awake primarily in the nighttime, so bright lights are a big no-no to raccoons.
Installing motion-activated spotlights strategically, so that if there is movement around your pool it activates, will help catch raccoons red-handed, whilst scaring them away.
If you are looking for some motion-activated lights, check out this Amico 3 Head LED Security Motion Sensor Light. This bright exterior light will go off when it detects movement. It also has adjustable wattage settings and an easy-to-install design for the perfect lighting combination. This light would be perfect to help with your raccoon problem, while it also will give you some extra light outdoors.
Likewise, keeping a bright light on all night will also help keep raccoons and other nocturnal pests out of your yard and out of your swimming pool.
Raccoons like to stay hidden in the dark, and especially if she has babies, the raccoon will not stay where a light is shining on them. Playing with light can be one of the easiest ways to deter raccoons.
Remove Any Bird Feeders
Removing the bird feeders from your yard is imperative if you keep finding raccoons in your yard and swimming pool.
If you’re not sure why you’re attracting raccoons to your yard and swimming pool, it may be as simple as having bird feeders in your yard.
As lovely as it is to feed our winged friends, bird feeders often give raccoons and unwanted pests a bite to eat as well. And unfortunately, if raccoons become reliant and expect the seeds from a bird feeder – they have no reason to leave!
Using Scents To Keep Raccoons Out Of Your Swimming Pool
Another great way that we recommend is to use scent, when and where you can, to keep raccoons and other pests out of your swimming pool.
Many scents are unpleasant to a raccoon, and when used strategically, they will help keep raccoons out of your swimming pool.
Hot pepper is extremely irritating to a raccoon, and it will confuse their sense of smell.
Sprinkling hot pepper around your pool’s perimeter will help keep raccoons out of the pool, as the scent will be too overbearing for them to cross. Once they get hot pepper in their nose, it will be hard for them to use their sense of smell to find food and sense out predators.
If you keep up with this and add hot pepper to your surroundings every day, the raccoons will more than get the hint that your property and swimming pool are not safe for them.
Here’s our in-depth guide on using hot pepper to repel raccoons for some more detail!
Peppermint is another very irritating scent to raccoons, as the aroma can cause tingling and a burning sensation that raccoons dislike!
Adding peppermint oil around your swimming pool is a great way to keep raccoons out.
To do this, take a spray bottle with water, add some peppermint oil drops to it to create a solution, and then spray it as a perimeter around your swimming pool. Do this at night when no one is using the pool, so it dries and remains scented when raccoons are most active.
Please take precautions as the surface can be slippery when wet.
Onion is another scent that raccoons absolutely hate.
An onion’s powerful scent because of the allicin it produces is too much for a raccoon to handle, and will throw off their sense of smell, which is too risky for them.
Planting onions in any nearby gardens (like the ones that may attract raccoons), or in pots around your swimming pool may help deter raccoons. Sprinkling onion powder around your pool, much like the cayenne pepper, can work as well.
You can read more about repelling raccoons with onions here in our detailed guide!
Epsom salt is another scent that raccoons hate, as it makes them feel there is danger nearby – since it irritates their nose!
Epsom salt is a simple solution since all you need is a bag of Epsom salt to sprinkle around your swimming pool. The smell will be strong enough to deter raccoons from taking a quick dip in your swimming pool!
If you are looking for Epsom salt or would like to purchase it in bulk, Epsoak Epsom Salt is a great option. This brand offers premium quality Epsom salt, and is made in the USA!
For more in-depth information, you can check out our piece on using epsom salt to repel raccoons if this is your go to method!
Which Type of Raccoon is Most Commonly Found In Swimming Pools?
So, here in North America we only have one native raccoon and it’s called the Procyon lotor, also known as the common raccoon.
And contrary to popular belief, raccoons are not rodents. They are more closely related to bears and weasels.
Have you ever noticed how you can immediately tell a raccoon is crossing the road because of its hunched appearance? Well, that hunch is because their back legs are longer than their front legs!
Like we said earlier, raccoons have dexterous hands, and can use both their hands and feet to grab objects. They even have 5 toes on each front hand.
Raccoons can weigh anywhere from 15 to 40 pounds when fully grown, but there have been some males that weighed in over 60 pounds! It’s said that urban raccoons living in residential areas, and cities, weigh a lot more because they have more access to handouts and garbage than a wild raccoon has.
That’s A Wrap!
If you have a raccoon problem, there are a ton of easy tips to keep raccoons out of your swimming pool. By maintaining your property, and adding some of these extra tips into your outdoor space, you can have some long-term solutions to keep raccoons away.
Pedlar, J. H., Fahrig, L., & Merriam, H. G. (1997). Raccoon habitat use at 2 spatial scales. The Journal of wildlife management, 102-112.
Hoffmann, C. O., & Gottschang, J. L. (1977). Numbers, distribution, and movements of a raccoon population in a suburban residential community. Journal of Mammalogy, 58(4), 623-636.
Henner, C. M., Chamberlain, M. J., Leopold, B. D., & Burger Jr, L. W. (2004). A multi‐resolution assessment of raccoon den selection. The Journal of wildlife management, 68(1), 179-187.