Those of you who have pools are likely familiar with the sensation—that guilty feeling you get when you find another dead frog or mouse in the water. Read on for valuable information on assisting animals who have fallen into your pool as well as some tips for preventing this from happening in the first place.
Keep Your Trees Trimmed
Young wildlife (usually young birds, opossums, squirrels, and raccoons) can fall or jump from overhanging trees. Make sure that trees are trimmed so that branches don’t hang over your pool—or, better yet, aren’t anywhere near it.
Get a Ramp or Another Device
Animals can mistake a pool for a pond and jump in, but the steep edges prevent them from escaping. You can create a ramp to help animals climb out of the pool, or you can affix ropes around the edges of the pool at the surface of the water. Animals can hang on to these or use them to climb out. Pool covers also help avoid tragedy, and fencing around the pool area will help prevent larger animals from falling in.
Eliminate Artificial Food Sources
Animals such as deer, raccoons, and dogs may stumble into the pool while seeking water or foraging for food. Since potential food sources will attract animals, make sure that your garbage cans are securely covered and can’t be tipped over. Also, never feed your animal companions outside, as this attracts wildlife.
Design or Add to Your Pool With Animals in Mind
If you don’t have a pool yet but are planning to install one, design it in such a way that animals will be able to climb out more easily—for example, by including a built-in ramp, steps, or ledges along the sides of the pool. If you already have a pool, you can install covers or grates over pool overflow as well as pool skimmer baskets to prevent small animals from being swept in.
What to Do if You Find an Animal in Your Pool
Extend something that floats, such as a life preserver or kiddie flotation device, or extend a pool leaf skimmer or pool hose for the animal to grab on to. Use a leaf skimmer, shovel, or similar tool to place or guide injured or otherwise imperiled animals into a carrier or box.
Pool chairs placed inside the shallow end of the pool may allow larger animals to climb out on their own. If you suspect that an animal needs treatment, please call a veterinarian or refer to this page, which will assist you in locating a wildlife rehabilitator.
Products to Assist a Drowning Animal
These ingenious products can give drowning animals a leg up and could potentially save dozens of animals’ lives over the course of the summer:
The FrogLog is a platform that attaches to the side of your pool and floats on the surface of the water, acting as a life raft for a small animal.
Skamper-Ramp, which comes in two sizes (regular and super), hangs from the side of your pool to act as a ramp from the water to the edge of your pool for a safe escape.
The Paws Aboard Doggy Boat Ramp is more of a mini set of stairs that hangs off the side of your pool and dips into the water.
The Critter Skimmer is a pool-skimmer cover with an attached spiral ramp, which gives frogs the opportunity to climb out of the pool to safety by themselves if they get caught inside the pool skimmer.