Swimming Pool Raccoon Problems

swimming pool raccoon problems

One of the most common critter problems around swimming pools in Miami is undoubtedly a raccoon problem.

These clever creatures can become a headache for homeowners, leaving paw prints, food and even feces around the pool deck and on your pool steps. – Not a pretty sight.

They’re not very cute either so that’s not helping their case.

But as menacing as these little guys can be, there is reasoning behind all their madness.


Some Facts

swimming pool raccoon problems

The raccoon’s most distinctive features are its obvious facial mask and its extremely dexterous front paws.

Furthermore, the most important sense for the raccoon is its sense of touch.

Almost two-thirds of the area responsible for sensory perception in the raccoon’s cerebral cortex is specialized for the interpretation of tactile impulses, more than in any other studied animal.

They are able to identify objects before touching them with vibrissae located above their sharp, non-retractable claws.

And these “hyper sensitive” front paws are protected by a thin horny layer which becomes pliable when wet.


So Why Are Raccoons Terrorizing My Backyard Swimming Pool?

swimming pool raccoon problems

Well due to their adaptability they have extended their original habitat range from mixed forests to coastal marshes and urban areas where some homeowners clearly consider them to be pests.

So needless to say, they’re here to stay. (Hey that rhymed)


Why Is This Important?

Because one aspect of raccoon behavior is so well known that it gives the animal part of its scientific name, Procyon lotor; “lotor” is neo-Latin for “washer”.

In the wild, raccoons often dabble for underwater food near the shoreline. They then often pick up the food item with their front paws to examine it and rub the item, sometimes to remove unwanted parts. This gives the appearance of the raccoon “washing” the food.

The tactile sensitivity of raccoons’ paws is increased if this rubbing action is performed underwater, since the water softens the hard layer covering the paws.

Naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, believed that raccoons do not have adequate saliva production to moisten food thereby necessitating dousing, but this hypothesis is now considered to be incorrect.




In Conclusion

I’m sure your first thoughts of a raccoon running around your backyard and in your swimming pool gives you the idea that it is just being its mischievous self and taking a dip on a hot summers day.

But a behavior observed in captive raccoons in which they carry their food to water to “wash” or douse it before eating has actually not been observed in the wild.

So the widely accepted theory is that dousing in captive raccoons is a fixed action pattern from the dabbling behavior performed when foraging at shores for aquatic foods in their natural wild habitat.

Also, captive raccoons douse their food more frequently when a watering hole with a layout similar to a stream is not farther away than 3 m (10 ft).

Although raccoons may not be searching for food in your swimming pool, they may very well be demonstrating the fixed action pattern similar to those of captive raccoons, especially with your pool being so easily accessible.

So with about 10 million swimming pools in the U.S., it should come as no surprise that with such adaptive qualities, a raccoon could acclimate to an urban environment and use an easily accessible body of water; your swimming pool, to its advantage.

So the next time you see a raccoon taking a dip in your swimming pool or leaving you a present on your top step, you know that it is simply replacing a natural body of water with a man-made one.


So how do I rid a raccoon from my swimming pool?

Getting rid of these clever critters may take some know-how or they’ll just keep coming back.

You may want to consider calling an animal control company to catch your little friend and send him on his way.

Another option is purchasing some granular chlorine (pool shock) from your local pool store or from your pool contractor and sprinkling it around your coping.

swimming pool raccoon problems

Animals dislike this strong smell and if they try to walk on it, it will burn their paws. We have found this to be pretty effective when done on a regular basis.

We do this as a courtesy for our customers who have this problem and it hasn’t failed yet.




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