How to keep a raccoon out of your swimming pool.
1) Install a deterrent - Raccoons usually walk onto the steps, and poop in the shallow water on the first step or two. So if you can prevent them from accessing this step, they'll stay out of the pool. You can install toddler or pet fencing around the steps. Other people have used chicken wire or even razor wire. Another option is to simply get thin wooden boards and pound nails in through the board to create spikes, and place these boards on the steps, with the spikes sticking up.
2) Trapping and removal - any time a raccoon is repeatedly engaging in an unwanted behavior, it will likely continue. They keep the same general travel routes and behaviors every night. So you can set traps near the pool, and trap and relocate the animals. Read more about raccoon trapping tips here.
Can you get diseases from raccoon feces in the swimming pool?
Raccoon diseases in pool or on property - Anywhere a raccoon travels so, too, does disease. This isn’t to say that all raccoons are carrying illnesses, but enough of the animals are to warrant caution when one is inside of your home, around your property, or in your swimming pool. The most common illnesses associated with diseases being left behind by raccoons in an attic are roundworms, giardia, and leptospirosis. Roundworms and giardia are intestinal parasites. Both parasites live in the gastrointestinal system, though roundworms tend to cause more systemic issues than giardia. Too many roundworms will result in vomiting and diarrhea, causing hemorrhaging of the intestinal lining. Giardia can overpopulate the intestinal tract and cause watery stool, but it’s not as damaging to the organs as the roundworm. Leptospirosis is a different type of illness. This bacterial infection is transmitted through infected urine. It can remain dangerous for years after leaving a body. If you’ve had a raccoon in your pool, chances are it has both urinated and defecated in there. When cleaning the space, make sure you wear gloves, a respirator mask, and eye protection. Roundworm eggs are light enough to be carried on a puff of air. It’s bad enough you might ingest one from touching your face with your hands; don’t let a roundworm egg get sucked into your lungs.
Here's an email I received from an astute reader:
David, I wrote to you because your website requested people who had dead raccoons or raccoon poop to be tested for the round worm parasite. I had a coon crap in my pool and I need to find someone who can test a sample. Can you help me find someone qualified to put it under a microscope? Thanks, Brian
My response: I don't think there's any danger from poop in a pool. The chlorine will kill anything. I have no idea where to test for roundworm.
David, I would be careful telling people that chlorine will do the trick, raccoon roundworm has been deadly in 50% of the cases of human infection, and the eggs are virtually indestructible with chemicals (most sites say they have to be burned).
Thanks for telling me! I've never actually seen a roundworm infection, but I thought chlorine would kill the eggs. I'll keep this info in my memory, and maybe post it on my website somewhere. I'm a wildlife removal expert, not an infectious disease expert, so maybe I shouldn't ever give any advice on diseases.
Not a problem at all .. happy to give you the info. It is "scary shit" so to speak! From what I was able to learn on the Internet from various University studies and state departments of health, it is mostly prevalent in the upper midwest and California where 60 -90% of raccoons are infected. However, only 10 raccoons in Georgia have been discovered with it and 3 in Florida (2 near Tallahassee and 1 in Miami). The raccoon poop is full of millions of worm larvae eggs. A person has to swallow the eggs to get the disease; the worms travel to your brain and mess you up very badly if they don't kill you. About 20 cases have been reported in the U.S. and 10 have died; the rest were blinded and essentially retarded from the worms. If a raccoon poops in a pool, one Michigan site I found says that the pool needs to be treated as though it contains deadly hazardous waste until a poop sample (or dead or alive raccoon) can be tested. The eggs are very indestructible and can last in chlorinated water for years. Here's another problem, the damned eggs are about 60 picometers in diameter ... far smaller than the finest particles a pool filter can pick up (5 microns). 1 micron is equal to 1,000,000 picometers! So it really is a problem if it gets in the pool. If you ever need to follow up on testing of it, this is a good place to start.
If you do trap a raccoon, please don't drown it in the pool. Also, be aware that raccoons can grab outside the cage, and pull themselves into the pool, as apparently happened in the above photo. You can keep raccoons out of the pool by installing a board filled with upward nails (spikes) to prevent it from walking on the first step and pooping in the pool.
Neil, of Stockdale Pools, wrote this, to tell me that my listed size was wrong, that it's micrometers, not picometers. That's correct. He says a filter will catch roundworm eggs: "Heh just a correction on your guide. The eggs are 60 micrometers and are about a million times bigger than you have listed. Every working filter will catch the eggs (if they even enter the filter). That might change the disinfection process for many people knowing that most the eggs would be in the filter. source: http://www.dpd.cdc.gov/dpdx/HTML/ImageLibrary/A-F/Baylisascariasis/body_Baylisascariasis_il1.htm"
Read more about raccoons:
Are Raccoons Dangerous to Cats, Dogs, or Other Pets?
What Equipment Is Needed to Trap a Raccoon?
Is Raccoon Feces Dangerous/Toxic to Touch or Breathe?
Should I Feed a Baby Raccoon I Found?