The bad news? There’s nothing you can do to keep uninvited creatures out of the pool, says Dominick Montanaro, owner of M & M Pools Inc. in Satellite Beach.
“I have seen things come through a screen enclosure,” he says. “If they want to get into something, they’ll get into something.”
But Montanaro says there are things you can do to deter animals from invading your sanctuary.
Take a look at these tips from pool experts:
Put up a barrier fence around the pool, Montanaro says. Though he cautions that snakes and other animals may still find a way into the pool area.
Keep the patio area clean. A sweet, sticky substance on the deck, for example, could attract animals, says Mitchell Friedlander, CEO of American PoolEnterprises, which is headquartered in Owing Mills, Md., and services commercial pools around the country.
String a monofilament line over the pool. Birds will be reluctant to land in the pool for fear of getting caught in the line when they take flight, Montanaro says.
Install a screen enclosure to deter gators, raccoons and other animals. But Montanaro warns gators and raccoons can claw their way through, especially if a screen is old and brittle.
Consider a fake owl. It will stop birds from sitting on top of a screen enclosure and leaving droppings, Montanaro says. However, this is only a temporary resolution. He says birds will eventually figure out the owl is fake.
Consider a pool alarm, Friedlander says. It not only works for children but animals, too.
Be careful. Don’t clean skimmers without looking inside, Friedlander says. And take your time. What you think is dead may be alive, he says.
If you do find a gator in the pool, call 1-800-FWC-GATOR, says Gary Morse, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Florida Fish and Wildlife also handles bears. Montanaro says a pool service company generally will handle smaller nuisance animals, such as rats, turtles and some snakes.
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