Dead Rodents in Swimming Pool (7 Cleaning Steps!)

Everyone desires to have a house, equipped with a swimming pool. It’s exciting and full of fun for every family member, especially for children. However, if you have an in-ground pool in your house, you better know the responsibility of its continuous cleaning and maintenance.

It’s not uncommon to find a dead rodent in a swimming pool. Rodents like raccoons, squirrels, mice, or other wild animals can fall and die in the pool.

It’s freaking, but it comes with all the enjoyment!

When you encounter such an incident, keep in mind that it’s not time to panic.

Close the pool for swimmers immediately. Wear gloves and remove dead animals using a plastic bucket or net. Dispose of the dead animal in plastic bags or dump its body in the ground so, the wild animals couldn’t approach it. Properly, disinfect the instruments used for removing the dead rodent and wash your hands.

Dead Rodents in Swimming Pool: Do Dead Rodents Contaminate Water?


You don’t need to freak out if you find a dead rodent in the pool. According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), most dead rodents don’t cause a health risk to swimmers. However, it is necessary to remove the dead animal from the pool as soon as possible. Because, putrification of dead animal will start if, it will remain in the water for a longer time.

What To Do If You Find A Dead Rodent In Your Pool? 7 Steps to Clean

As you find a dead rodent in the pool, close the pool for a while and take the following actions before next use.

  • Step 1: Put on disposable gloves to avoid direct contact with the dead animal.
  • Step 2: Use a plastic bucket or mesh to remove the animal from the pool.
  • Step 3 Put the dead animal in a plastic bag and dispose of it so wild animals could not find it. You can also dump the body by digging in the ground.
  • Step 4: Wash the instrument used for removing the dead animal with tap water.
  • Step 5: Remove and dispose of your gloves and wash your hands properly using soap.
  • Step 6: Chlorinate the pool to disinfect it.
  • Step 7: Manage to maintain the temperature of the pool at 25 °C for 30 minutes.

Diseases Caused by Dead Animals in Water

As mentioned earlier, most of the dead rodents in the pool are not dangerous for swimmers. However, it is worth knowing that some other animals like raccoons and lambs can spread germs in the pool, which can cause severe health consequences.


  • Most of the raccoons are infected by the worm Baylisascaris procyoni causes Baylisascariasis in humansRaccoons transmit the eggs of this worm in their feces. This worm is transmitted through the orofecal route and causes severe neurological and ocular diseases in humans.
  • Eggs in the human body are converted into larvae which start migrating towards visceral organs like the heart, lungs, muscles, and brain.
  • Tissue damage and signs are often severe due to the invasive course of larval migration.


  • Due to the protective covering around the parasite, it is resistant to disinfectants like chlorine.
  • Cryptosporidium mostly infects the animals like un-weaned calves, but some strains can cause severe diarrhea in humans.
  • Immune-compromised individuals are more prone to disease with severe health conditions.
  • A dead lamb or calf in the pool can be a cause of cryptosporidiosis in swimmers.

How to disinfect water with the dead rodent?

After removing the dead animal from the swimming pool, the next important step is to disinfect it. Chlorination is an economical and recommended method to disinfect the pool. Some parameters which you have to consider are here.

  • Maintain the pH of the pool up to 7.5 for at least 30mins.
  • Raise the chlorine concentration of water to 2 parts per million (ppm) for 30mins at least.  
  • Maintain the water temperature to 25 °C for 30 minutes and make sure the water filtration throughout this process.
  • In the case of raccoons, manage to drain the pool or filtration for 24hrs.

I drank water with a dead rodent in it. Is it dangerous?

Most of the time, drinking water from a pool with dead rodents doesn’t cause a health risk. However, it is worth taking seriously if the animal is decomposed in it. In the case of a dead raccoon or calf, there are chances of zoonotic parasites (Cryptosporidium, Baylisascaris procyoni), which can cause serious illness in humans.

In such cases, it is always advised to take medical care accordingly.  

Why do rodents keep falling and dying in my pool?

It’s head-scratching to find a dead rodent in your pool every next morning. There can be several reasons for that. 

  • If trees and bushy plants surround the pool, it provides the rodents with good habitat. So, there are more chances that rodents will keep falling and dying in your pool.
  • There may be a rodent infestation in your area, or neighbors may have to use rodenticides against them. Rodents feel dehydrated after consuming some rodenticides like warfarin, so they usually come to drink water at the pool and die.

How do I keep rodents out of my pool?

There are three main ways to keep the animals and rodents out of your pool.

Pool cover: A polythene cover is a good option to prevent the entry of rodents, particularly during the night.

Ramp: A ramp in the pool like a scamper ramp proves very helpful to come to the animals out of the pool. If you have pets in your house, a ramp is necessary to install in your pool.

Pool Fence:  It is a metallic or mesh fence that covers the boundaries of the pool. It can prevent large animals like dogs, cats, and lambs but is not suitable for rats and mice.

Is it safe to swim in a pool with dead rodents? (Squirrels, Mice, and Rats)

According to CDC, dead animals in a swimming pool don’t pose a serious health concern for humans. However, it should not be taken for granted and remove the dead animal as a priority.

Disinfection of the pool should be considered before using the pool again. Chlorination of the pool for 30 minutes kills most of the germs carried by these animals.


Some frequently asked questions about rodents.

Do dead rodents float?

Yes, the density of a dead rodent will be less than a live one comparatively. So, it will float in the pool. However, it’s not a rule. You can find a dead rodent in the bottom of the pool sometimes.

What happens if you touch a dead rodent?

Some rodents like mice can transfer the disease like a rat-bite fever when they bite or scratch an individual. However, touching a dead rodent can’t spread disease or produce other dangerous consequences.

Can you get sick from breathing in a dead rodent?

The smell of a dead rodent does not contain germs. So, if you accidentally breathe in a dead rodent, it will not make you sick.

Is breathing in a dead mouse smell harmful?

No, breathing in a dead mouse smell is not harmful concerning the disease transmission except that you couldn’t resist it and vomit.

How long can a rat swim before it drowns?

It depends upon the type of rat. Some rats can swim in water for three days, while others can drown in just 15 minutes. One experiment shows that 2.6 minutes is the average time to drown a rat.

Do rats go to swimming pools?

Yes, rats and other rodents go to a swimming pool for drinking water. They can also fall into the pool when chased by a cat or dog.

Can you get rabies from the swimming pool?

Rabies is a viral disease transmitted through Lyssavirus. This virus is shed in the saliva of infected animals. So, if an infected animal drinks water from the pool, it can shed viruses in the pool. However, the rabies virus is very fragile and can only survive in sunlight for 20 minutes. So, there are no chances to get rabies from a swimming pool.

Why do I keep finding dead mice in my pool?

You should thoroughly examine and keep finding any dead animal in the pool before using it. Because its removal is necessary as soon as possible to avoid its decomposition. If a dead mouse will remain in the pool for longer times, it can not only make the water putrid but can also clog the pool filters.

Dead rat in the saltwater pool! What to do?

After removing the dead rat from the pool, chlorine levels should be maintained. Start the salt chlorine generator and give it 8 hours before the next use.

A dead squirrel in the water tank. What to do?

Just like a dead rat, a dead squirrel is not dangerous for the swimmers. After closing the pool for use, remove the dead squirrel by wearing disposable gloves and a pool bucket. Dispose of the animal properly and wash your hands. Chlorinate the pool filter before next use.

Does chlorine keep rats away?

Yes, the smell of chlorine keeps the rats away. Bleach is also used as an excellent rat repellent. So, chlorination of the pool can also help to keep the rodents away.


Rodents like rats, mice, and squirrels are linked with a pool for drinking water. Some can fall and die while escaping from predators. So, it is common trouble to find a dead rodent in a swimming pool.

A sigh of relief in such a situation is that most rodents who died in the swimming pool are not a health risk for swimmers. You don’t need to swear off swimming after that. And can open the pool for use after removing the dead animal and doing proper disinfection.

SmallPetsX.Com does not provide veterinary advice. Our aim to help small pet owners understand their pets a little better so that they can provide their pets with the life they deserve. All content is therefore for informational purposes only. If you're concerned about the health of your pet you should seek medical advice from a vet.

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