Why Do Alligators Go In Pools? (Vet Tech Explains)

Why Do Alligators Go In Pools

If you live around alligators, you know that one of your worst nightmares is coming home to an alligator. Alligators often turn up on people’s porches, in their yards, in their ponds, and even in their swimming pools.

If an alligator is on your porch, or in your yard is usually pretty easy to remove them. However, if an alligator goes into your pool, it can get a little tricky to get them out.  Afterward, you’ll probably wonder;

Why do alligators go in pools?

Alligators are semi-aquatic reptiles that live in freshwater. Alligators go into pools simply because they are a source of fresh water. If there aren’t any deterrents there’s no reason for an alligator to avoid a pool. Plus, alligators are affected by habitat loss and are driven to look for water in urban environments.

In this article, we’ll explain why alligators go into pools. We’ll also talk about the effects of chlorine on alligators, and what to do if you find an alligator in your pool. Finally, we’ll mention ways to prevent an alligator from getting into your pool in the first place.

Why Do Alligators Go In Pools?

Pools don’t seem like the most natural place for alligators to spend time. They’re usually surrounded by hot, rough, concrete, patio furniture, and people. These are usually things that alligators would avoid. Despite all of this alligators, still end up in pools every year.

So, here are the two main things that might explain why alligators go in pools.

Reason 1: They’re A Source Of Freshwater

The biggest reason why alligators go in pools is that pools are a source of fresh water. American alligators are semi-aquatic reptiles. Like other reptiles that live in freshwater, American alligators, spend most of their time in ponds, slow, moving, rivers, swamps, and lakes.

While alligators may spend some time in brackish water or even ocean water, they don’t tolerate salt water very well. Alligators also spend some time on land to lay eggs, Hunt, and bask in the sun.

But, for the most part, you’ll find these giant reptiles in freshwater.

To an alligator, your pool just looks like another source of freshwater. Wild animals have a hard time telling the difference between a pool and a small pond. Pool drownings are actually a big problem for wild animals. Many animals like birds and frogs can drown in pools when they aren’t able to climb up and over the edge.

Because they can hold their breath for so long alligators don’t usually don’t have a problem hanging out in a pool. That’s why it’s not surprising for an alligator to end up in one. But, just like many other wild animals, alligators might have a hard time getting out of a pool on their own.

Reason 2: Habitat Loss

Another big driving factor for alligators ending up in pools is habitat loss. Alligators inhabit small bodies of freshwater. Unfortunately, humans also like to build and develop around small bodies of water.

Habitat loss is a serious problem for these giant reptiles. In the past, the American alligator was once endangered because of habitat, loss and overhunting.

Even though people who live around alligators don’t like them much they’re incredibly important to the environment around them. Top predators, alligators, help regulate the abundance of animals and their local food chain. Alligators also dig gator holes. Gator holes, create new, seasonal ponds for other animals to use, as soon as the alligator has moved out.

So, as the habitat available for alligators is restricted, they will naturally venture to new places. Can’t have too many alligators in one spot because they will become territorial and fight during mating season and food will become limited.

It’s almost expected that alligators will look for new habitats like pools as their old ones become developed.

Do Alligators Like Chlorine Pools?

From the multitude of news stories, online about alligators in chlorine pools, it doesn’t seem like chlorine really bothers them.

Alligators might even like chlorine pools on a hot day. Chlorine pools usually stay very cool and alligators can use them for a personal dip. Alligators probably don’t seek out chlorine pools on purpose but if they find one, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t take a swim.

Does Chlorine Harm Alligators?

Though fish and amphibians are incredibly sensitive to chemicals, reptiles are not. Reptiles have tough scaly skin that protects them from the elements around them. Alligators, especially have super tough scales made for life in water.

After an extended amount of time, chlorine can harm any living thing. According to the Center for Disease Control, exposure to low levels of chlorine can cause irritation in the nose, throat, and eyes. Longer or higher levels of exposure could cause severe damage to the lungs.

So, if an alligator stayed in a pool for days on end, they would probably feel some side effects of the chlorine present. But, for the most part, alligators in pools aren’t there for extended periods of time. The amount of chlorine in a pool probably isn’t enough to cause any harm.

How To Tell If There Is An Alligator In Your Pool

You’re probably thinking it would be obvious if there were an alligator in your pool. But, if it’s dark out, you might not notice a large reptile hanging out at the deep end.  This video is great evidence of a sneaky alligator surprising a couple in a pool.

Some of the telltale signs that an alligator is in the water are disruptions in the surface of the water, hissing noises, or bubbles. I also noticed that the alligator has probably left some skid marks around the pool at the spot where they entered.

Because pools are usually more artificial looking than something like a pond. It should be pretty easy to tell when an alligator is in your pool. If you think an alligator is in your pond, read our article for more details on that situation here.

What To Do If An Alligator Is In Your Pool

Because alligators are dangerous predators, you’ll probably want to call for help if an alligator is in your pool. You can try calling your local police department or animal control. They should be able to at least guide you in the right direction and give you the right resources to call.

You may also be able to contact a pest removal company, but it would need to be a very specialized business.

Never drain your pool if an alligator is stuck inside. Though it might seem like a good idea at first it’s just going to make it harder to get them out in the end.

One of the easiest ways to get animals out of pools is to simply provide them with a ramp to climb up out of. If you feel safe, and you have a long dock or piece of wood try placing it at the shallow end of your pool. Go inside and give the alligator some time to try to climb out. Odds are they want to get out of the pool just as much as you want them to but they simply don’t know how.

Remember to keep your distance, keep your pets locked away from the pool area, and call a professional.

How To Keep Alligators Out Of Your Pool

Because alligators are naturally attracted to bodies of freshwater it’s hard to keep them out of pools. The best way to keep a large animal out of your pool is to build an enclosure or a fence around the pool.

One thing alligators can’t do is climb so a fence should do the trick. Although they can dig, they’re not likely to dig under a fence just to reach a pool.

If you’re not ready to commit to a fence, you can get a heavy-duty pool cover to go on top of your pool in the evenings or in the off-season. However, it will have to be incredibly strong to withstand an alligator walking on top of it.

How To Clean Your Pool After An Alligator Has Been In It

If you’ve already had an alligator in your pool, don’t worry. Chlorine does a great job of killing bacteria. But, if the alligator brought dirt and debris into the pool, you may need to partially drain it and refill it after your visitor is gone.

Final Thoughts

The reasons why alligators go in pools are pretty obvious. Pools might seem like just another freshwater source for them to rest in. Due to habitat loss, many alligators have been driven further and further inland. These gators are more likely to become desperate for water and jump into a pool.

Even though pools usually have people, concrete, and furniture nearby this never seems to deter alligators for a long. The best way you can keep alligators from getting into your pool is by building a strong, tall fence.