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Thread: If you can't beat 'em, build a grub washing station...?

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    If you can't beat 'em, build a grub washing station...?

    I posted this here since this seemed as good a place as any. I have an issue with raccoons. They like to wash their food in my pool at night. They don't leave food in the water which is good, but they do leave sand on the top step and muddy paw prints all over the ladder and top rails. I've caught the little critters in the act but they are used to people and don't run until you get real close. I value my sleep so keeping sentry with rock salt and an air rifle is not an option. I thought I might try building the little darlings their own little pond down near ground level so they can wash their food there and stay out of my pool! I have an old intex cartridge filter/pump from my "bag o' water" days that should keep the water clean. Has anyone tried something like this before and did it work?
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    Re: If you can't beat 'em, build a grub washing station...?

    [quote="zea3"] I value my sleep so keeping sentry with rock salt and an air rifle is not an option. quote]

    Agreed...offering to salt their meals will not deter their bad behavior.
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    Re: If you can't beat 'em, build a grub washing station...?

    Are they just washing up in your pool or are they actually eating something back there?

    If you can't (or don't have it in your heart to) use more lethal methods, I would suggest trying live traps. My mom lives in Austin and has dealt with possums and raccoons over the years. She bought a live trap and when she starts seeing them, she puts the trap out and when she catches one, she puts the trap in the SUV and takes them out to the woods by the lake and releases them.
    10K gallon IG gunite with waterfall; Pentair CC320P filter; WhisperFlo 2 HP pump
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: If you can't beat 'em, build a grub washing station...?

    I doubt they'd use it. Animals never behave the way you want. Buy the cat a scratching post, it will still use the chair, unless you're there to yell and swat at it until it learns. You won't be there to train the raccoons.

    Maybe adding borates will make the water taste bad or something?

    Since a shotgun is out, get a trap. Edited for politeness. 257WbyMag - Forum Moderator
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: If you can't beat 'em, build a grub washing station...?

    Yes, it seems to keep them out of the pool. We did have some dirt in the pool that was probably brought in by the raccoons and I had not thought about the fact that this has stopped since we put in the fountain.

    I have (or had) a raccoon living under the screen porch. There is a small fountain with a small basin right outside that porch. I have no idea if they use it for washing. I do think they went to it, perhaps to wash, perhaps to fish for the lone goldfish in there. The stone coping is not fixed and on one side I'd frequently find a stone tumbled into the water. There is a LOT of mud in the bottom of that basin and so it is likely they used the basin. They always have such dirty feet, based on the prints they leave on the patio furniture if I leave the cushions down.

    My fountain has a small 30 gallon basin bought at Lowe's. On top of that is a precast "rock pile" waterfall that has two outlets at the top and a few pools that collect and spill water. The pump is somewhat undersized since the basin is so small, I didn't want to suck up the fish with a fast flow.
    I was not that fond of the waterfall, it was discovered tumbled back into the brush as we cleaned out this yard after we bought the house last year. I hope to get it covered with moss so it looks less fake.

    Starting fresh would be so much easier. When I did landscape designs, I did a plan for a friend that had a small shallow basin set into a raised flowerbed. Many pond shells have two levels and I see no need to dig a huge hole when you can make a small hole for the central deep part, then use that dirt to create a raised bed around it. You must have the pond shell above the natural grade so you do not get rain runoff into it. Likewise you must not have it such that it catches roof water or it will wash out as it overflows.

    You must have water agitation or you will get mosquitoes. That can be a simple pump with a fountain attachment or a small spitting statue. Be aware of splash distance or else you will lose water quickly. For a fountain, allow diameter twice the height of the flow. For a spitter, a bit more in the direction of the flow. Any pump will require a sponge filter and this will require cleaning. The pumps at hardware stores are terrible, try Big Al's Online or Drs. Foster Smith. Most come with fountain attachments and the better ones have a valve to adjust flow.

    You must have a GFI protected outlet for the pump. Lighting is nice but don't bother with underwater lighting, odds are it will not be clear enough to enjoy that. With the raccoons in mind, add some flagstone near the edge to keep them out of the dirt.

    If you chose to add fish, you must have enough depth for the fish to get away from the raccoons, who will seriously go after them if they can see them. If you add water plants, they help to clear the water but then the fish are open for attack by birds as well as raccoons and snakes. Also, fish demand circulation for oxygen, so you cannot skip the buying of a pump, even if you skip the fountain or spitter. And fish need food, so there will be poop as well as leaf debris to be cleaned out regularly. You must allow at least 30 gallons per goldfish.

    For fish, it is OK to go to PetSmart and some Walmarts have good fish,but resist the urge to get the 10 cent feeder fish. Those are so overcrowded they are usually diseased. Get a $2 or $3 fish from a tank were all the fish look healthy. They will give you instructions for introducing it to the pond, and sell you the needed water conditioners to remove chlorine.


    Know that it is one more maintenance item, keeping the pump clean and clearing out leaves. But, if you put it where you can enjoy it, it is worth the effort to put it in. We love to listen to the fountain and watch the birds that come there to drink and bathe in the pools of the waterfall.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: If you can't beat 'em, build a grub washing station...?

    No fish for my pond! For a well established suburban neighborhood, we get a lot of wildlife! Raccoons, squirrels, hawks, possum, you name it! One day I even had a pair of heron sitting on the top rail for a couple of hours. I have no idea why they were there since the pool was clear and I had no fish or bugs in it. Houses are too close together and aim is too poor for shoot 'em ups in the backyard. Might miss and shoot a hole in my pool! I just don't have the time to take Rocky for a ride in the country. If you don't take them at least 10 miles away they will come back! So I figure the pond will be a nice compromise. That will be one of my projects for this summer.
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