Animals can be great companions, but if allowed in or near your pool, they can sometimes contaminate the water and spread germs that cause disease. It is important to always keep your pool clean and take precautions when animals have been in or near the pool. To learn more about keeping your pool safe from animal contaminants (such as feces). See below
Finding a Dead Animal in the Pool
Most dead animals in pools do not pose a health risk to swimmers. If you find a dead animal in the pool, following the simple removal and disinfection steps below will help ensure healthy swimming in the pool.
Dead raccoons in pools, however, can pose a health risk to swimmers. This is because raccoons might be infected with a worm calledBaylisascaris, which can be spread to humans. For more information, go to CDC’s Raccoons and Pools page.
What types of dead animals are found in swimming pools?
Many different types of domestic and wild animals —including skunks, birds, mice, gophers, rats, snakes, frogs, and bats —are commonly found dead in pools.
Do dead animals in pools pose a health risk to swimmers?
Most dead animals in pools do not pose a health risk to swimmers. Many germs carried by animals infect only those animals, though a few of the germs they carry can infect people.
Most germs carried by animals are killed by chlorine within minutes in a well-maintained pool. However, to help ensure healthy swimming in a pool where a dead animal has been found, it is important to follow the simple steps below to remove the animal and disinfect the water.
What should I do if I find a dead animal in the pool?
These cleaning and disinfection steps are for animals commonly reported to be found dead in pools. Pre-weaned calves and lambs are often infected with Cryptosporidium, a chlorine-tolerant germ, and could pose a health risk to swimmers if found dead in a pool. After removing a dead calf or lamb from the pool, decontaminate the water.
More Information from the CDC
- Residential Pool Owners: Contact your local health department for advice since hyperchlorination protocols are beyond the scope of residential pool owners.
Raccoons & Pool
Raccoons can be pests and can spread germs to humans. It is important to keep raccoons out of your pool and watch for raccoon feces (poop) in and around your pool. Raccoon feces can sometimes contain the eggs of a worm called Baylisascaris
What is Baylisascaris?
Baylisascaris a roundworm parasite that commonly infects raccoons. Raccoons infected with Baylisascariscan be found in all parts of the United States1–13. When people are exposed to Baylisascariseggs they can become ill.
What should I do if I find raccoon feces or a dead raccoon in my pool?
Although chlorine in pools will kill most germs that a raccoon could carry into the water, it does not killBaylisascariseggs. If raccoon feces or a dead raccoon are found in the pool:
- Close the pool to swimmers. ThenoTest the raccoon or its feces for Baylisascaris. If the feces or raccoon tests positive for Baylisascaris, clean the pool as described in the following sections.
- Clean the pool as described in the following sections, if you do not want to test the raccoon feces.
What can I do to keep raccoons out of my swimming pool?
Raccoons usually choose certain locations to defecate (poop) and then use those same places repeatedly. Raccoons can also be attracted to areas where humans live and play. In pools, raccoons usually defecate in the shallow areas (for example, on the steps).
Here are some tips for keeping raccoons out of your pool:
- Cover the pool area that has been visited by raccoons.
- Keep the fence around the pool closed.
- Find out if anyone in your area is feeding raccoons, leaving pet food outside, leaving uncovered trash outside, or using trash cans that are not properly secured. Discourage this behavior as it could be attracting animals, particularly raccoons, to your pool.
- Contact Animal Control (local government office in charge of animal issues) or a pest control removal service to relocate the animal.
Birds & Pools
Many types of birds are attracted to swimming pools. As a result, swimmers might come in contact with bird droppings (poop) while in the pool. If you find bird droppings in the pool, there are a few simple steps you can take to disinfect the water and keep birds away from the pool.
Can bird droppings in the pool spread germs to swimmers?
Many germs that might be found in bird droppings can infect humans. Duck and goose droppings, in particular, might contain germs such as E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, or Cryptosporidium(“Crypto” for short). Most germs in bird droppings are killed by chlorine within minutes in a well-maintained pool.
The germ Crypto, however, has a tough outer shell that allows it to survive for a long time in the environment. Crypto can survive for days even in properly chlorinated pools. Currently, CDC is not aware of any evidence of Crypto being spread directly from birds to humans.
What should I do if I find bird droppings in the pool?
Pool operators and owners should respond to finding bird droppings in the pool the same way they would respond to finding formed human feces (poop) in the pool. The Healthy Swimming Program’sFecal Incident Response Recommendations[PDF –4 pages]provide step-by-step guidance on how to properly decontaminate the water in these situations.
Follow these steps to remove bird droppings and disinfect the water:
- Close the pool to swimmers.
- Put on disposable gloves
- Remove the bird droppings using a net or bucket. Do not vacuum the droppings from the pool.
- Clean off any debris or dirt from the item used to remove the bird droppings.
- Disinfect the item used to remove the droppings by immersing it in the pool during the 30 minute disinfection time described below.
- Remove and dispose of gloves.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately.
- Raise the free chlorine concentration to, or maintain it at, 2 parts per million (ppm); maintain the
- pH level at 7.5 or less; keep the temperature at 77°F (25°C) or higher. The free chlorine and pH
- should remain at these levels for 30 minutes.
- Confirm that the filtration system is operating properly.
How can I keep birds away from the pool area?
The following steps can help encourage birds, other than ducks and geese (more information on ducks and geese is provided below), to leave the swimming pool area:
- Remove plants that produce edible nuts, fruits, and berries.
- Remove bird feeders.
- Trim or remove trees and shrubs to limit branches hanging around or over the pool that can be used by roosting birds.
How can I keep ducks and geese away from the pool area?
Do not feed ducks or geese; providing food attracts them and encourages them to return. Many types of ducks and geese eat grass, so reducing the area of grass lawns around the swimming pool or putting up barriers that prohibit movement between swimming pools and grass lawns, such as fences and hedges, might also help. Removing domestic ducks and geese from the pool area can also help decrease the likelihood that wild ducks and geese will be attracted to the area.
What can I do to get rid of ducks and geese already in the pool area?
In the United States, most birds, including ducks and geese, are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and state laws. Local laws might also apply. Therefore, legal options for dealing with birds are limited and may require a permit. Consult theU.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and your state wildlife agency for more information.