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Keeping Animals & Critters Out of Your Pool

Some people can't stand to see bugs, frogs, ducks or dogs in their pool, and almost everyone would swim faster at the sight of a snake swimming with them! Fact is, bodies of water are a natural habitat for many animals. They prefer darker, more vegetated areas that provide some protection from predators, but your pretty blue pool will sometimes do the job. This article covers methods to keep animals and critters out of your pool.

Snakes

Most snakes, except for aquatic snakes such as water moccasins, generally fall into the pool by accident. But they may have trouble getting out, unless you have an easy step or ramp for the serpents to slither up! To prevent snakes from coming into the area, here are some old home remedies to scare snakes away from the pool:

  1. Sprinkle granular sulfur around the outside perimeter of the pool deck, or in the edging of planter beds. Snakes hate the smell, and it gives them a little "belly rash" when they crawl over it.
  2. Spread cloves or dried garlic around the perimeter of the pool deck, or edge of planter beds. Works on vampires, too!
  3. Plant mint leaves and lemongrass. Snakes don't like it!

Frogs

use a frog log to keep animals out of the pool

Not surprisingly, frogs love water. So much so that a smart inventor created a product called Frog Log, which provides an exit ramp for frogs, toads, crickets, and other such critters. Another product that helps in the same way is called the Critter Skimmer. The Critter Skimmer is a specially modified skimmer lid with a spiral ramp on the inside, which allows frogs and other small critters to climb up and out of the swirling skimmer.

I have heard of folks who catch the frogs in nets and jars, then they drive down to the river and release them. That's the more frog-friendly way to do it, I suppose. But if you're looking for a method to keep them out of the pool in the first place, try using a rubber snake. Frogs and snakes are not friends. If you place a few around the deck or in the pool, you can scare the frogs - and maybe Grandma, too!

Frogs also don't like high chlorine levels or low pH. I've heard that if you sprinkle DE filter powder along the outer deck edge or in the planters, it will deter the frogs from entering the pool area. If you see frog eggs floating in the pool, try to remove them with a small bucket or jar. A skimmer net will sometimes disperse the dozens of little black dots across the water.

Ducks

Ducks are some of the messiest visitors to your pool, if you know what I mean. They drastically affect the pH level and increase chloramine production. Cute too look at, especially when the whole family moves in, but oh, what a mess! It's usually only temporary, and ducks move on, but sometimes they stay awhile.

use an alligator float to keep animals out of the pool

If you post a few plastic owl sentries around, the ducks may avoid your house and settle down on your neighbor's pool instead. A large barking dog will likely do the trick as well. One chemical product that has been around for several years is called "Duck Off". Funny name, I know. But it really works! Duck Off changes the surface tension on the water so that the ducks don't like it, but the effect is not noticeable by humans. Using an automatic pool cleaner or scary-looking pool floats, like a shark or alligator, will also deter ducks, since these products resemble predators in the water. Some pool owners have also found that using a solar pool cover or Leaf Catcher cover, a net for the pool, can keep ducks from landing on the pool surface.

Dogs 

If your dog loves to jump in the pool, and you would rather he didn't, you might need to get creative. Some dogs love to go in the pool, and some dogs won't even go near the pool. Still others just like to chase the pool cleaner around, barking at it.

If you worry about an older dog - or even a younger dog - falling in the pool and not being able to get back out, check out these pet pool safety ramps. If your pool doesn't have steps or a beach entry, a dog that falls (or jumps) in the pool could tire out, panic and drown. Skamper Ramp and Doggy Docks were made specifically for this very purpose. These are also helpful for cats, raccoons or other small animals that may fall into the pool.

Bugs

critter skimmer to help keep animals out of the pool

Whether you're in the water or lounging nearby, bugs can be a big nuisance around swimming pools. Thankfully, there are several methods that can be used to keep the bugs away from your pool. One way to help with mosquito problems is to keep the water circulating, so the water doesn't become stagnant. Keeping a cover on the pool while it's not in use will also drastically reduce the amount of bugs residing in your pool. Keeping the pool area clear of overgrowth, regularly cleaning the pool, and using bug zappers, traps or repellent candles can also help control a bug problem.

For bugs in the skimmer basket, use the Tower Skimmer basket, which is made to fit the most popular inground pool skimmers. Or we also have the Critter Skimmer, a replacement inground pool skimmer lid, that has a ramp to freedom, built into the cover.

You can also tack on a handle onto your existing skimmer basket, with the Skimmer Angel. This comes with two stainless steel screws to secure it to the bottom of your skimmer basket. Then you just grab the handle, without reaching so far into the deep, dark skimmer!

How to Keep Bugs Out of the Pool Area

Why do bugs end up in the pool anyway? Many are lured to water by instinct, for replenishing moisture, or for laying of eggs, and perhaps some bugs enjoy the pool lifestyle for relaxation and recreation.

1. Today's Modern Bug Traps

Bug traps have come a long way since the fly strip that used to hang-up in your great grandparents kitchen. Bug traps have also gone past the bug zappers that fry the bugs. Quiet, efficient vacuum traps lure them in with lighting and CO2, and a vacuum sucks them into infinity.

2. SolaMist Mosquito and Insect Misting System

Bug traps are great for flying pests, but what about land-based insects like ants, centipedes, spiders and such? One company makes a solar-powered bug spray system with 90 ft of hose and 20 nozzles, attached to a 12-gal tank of bug spray. Fully solar powered and Wi-Fi enabled, so you can control spray times and check system status.

3. Transonic Pro All-Pest Repeller

Bird-X Transonic Pro Ultrasonic All-Pest Repeller uses sound waves to deter unwanted pests. Custom frequencies are easily set to repel birds and waterfowl, or for bats, mice or chipmunks. Other frequencies are used to chase away smaller insects like stink bugs, ants or beetles. Pets don't mind, covers 3500 square feet.

A high chlorine level and well-maintained pool water chemistry can also help deter bugs and birds from visiting your pool, or may shorten their visit. Another product that some of our customers use for ducks and water fowl is the leaf catcher pool net.


In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.