A swimming pool can make your backyard feel like a natural oasis. But, the water in your swimming pool is far from natural. Pool owners spend each summer keeping their pool clean, clear, and free of pests, and there is a reason that pool maintenance takes so much work. A body of water is naturally attractive to insects and animals, particularly during hot and dry weather. Attentive cleaning and maintenance ensure our swimming pools don’t transform into swamps over time. The chemicals we use to treat our swimming pools can be very harsh and are often damaging to local wildlife. Any responsible pool owner looks for ways to minimize the environmental impact of their swimming pool. But, the hazards your pool creates for local wildlife can actually be due to how your pool is structured, rather than how chemicals are used.
A danger to local wildlife
Unfortunately, swimming pools can be dangerous to local wildlife – particularly small animals. Some of these small animals are very sensitive to chlorine exposure. In the heat of the summer, your swimming pool seems very attractive. Small animals may jump or fall into the pool trying to cool off or get a drink, without realizing that the pool walls will prevent them from finding a way out.
In Canada, frogs, snakes, raccoons, squirrels, deer, chipmunks, and other animals regularly fall into pools and drown when they are unable to find a safe exit. You can cut down on these tragic deaths by making your pool and yard less attractive and safer for these critters.
Create exit points for animals
Small animals who are hot or thirsty will enter or fall into the pool, not realizing that they cannot climb the sheer walls to escape again. Though many of these animals are strong swimmers, they eventually drown after being trapped in the water for hours and succumbing to exhaustion.
Creating exit points for your swimming pool is the best way to help small animals to escape the water, or at least give them a place to rest until you can rescue them. One of the best additions you can make to your swimming pool is a Frog Log Critter Escape Ramp. The Frog log is a small escape ramp that you can easily add to the side of your pool. With a floating element and a small ramp, this genius invention allows frogs (and other tiny creatures) to climb out of your pool in an emergency.
If you need to make a change to your pool immediately, you can hang knotted rope or nylon over the edge of the pool will allow animals to climb out of the pool to escape easily.
Check your pool daily
Life is busy, and some days will go by in the summer when you don’t even look at your pool. But, checking your pool regularly is important to ensure it is running well, and that no small animals are in danger.
Even if you have safety precautions in place, wildlife can still get into trouble around a pool. Make a habit of checking the water at least once a day, and you may be able to help out a small animal in need, and save yourself the sadness of discovering it a few days later.
Providing wildlife with drinking water
Many animals have trouble in a swimming pool because they are looking to cool down or drink some water in the heat of the summer. Having a small fountain or bird bath available in your yard can help to lure animals away from your pool, while providing them with the safe drinking water that they need.
Keep in mind that stagnant water can attract mosquitos. Running water is the best way to have a water source in your backyard but, changing water regularly will also prevent pests.
Build safety into your new pool
If you are building a new pool, you may be able to help local animals with your design. Pools built with ledges or gradual walls allow animals to escape easily if they happen to fall in. If you’re doing some construction to your backyard, constructing a good fence that discourages animals from entering your yard can save animal lives.
Dangerous animals and your swimming pool
In city areas, your pool usually poses a danger to the small animals in the area. But in other parts of Canada, your pool can actually attract much larger unwanted guests. Black bears and even moose have been known to take a drink or a dip from a swimming pool, which can lead to a pretty scary situation for some Canadians.
Around the world, swimming pools can actually attract frightening wildlife to you, and not the other way around. In Florida, alligators are known to dive into swimming pools regularly; In India, Elephants are known to explore unsecured swimming pools; and in Australia, kangaroos sometimes wander into pools (and often need help getting back out).
Minimizing the impact of your swimming pool
Having a swimming pool takes its toll on the environment, and all responsible pool owners do what they can to reduce the impact of their energy consumption and chemical use. But, you may have to take a few more steps to truly protect your local wildlife from pool mishaps.
During hot and dry weather, it is easy to see how small animals can mistake your pool for a nice place to cool off and have a drink. But, your pool chemicals and pool construction can create a dangerous situation for your local animals. By taking some time to consider the risks of your swimming pool, you can save some tiny lives this summer season.