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Wildlife and Pool Safety

Thursday, January 10, 2019
Many of us enjoy taking a dip in backyard pools during summer. Native animals also like to cool off, and often seek out water on hot days.

Sadly wildlife and swimming pools don’t always mix and during extended periods of hot, dry weather WIRES takes many calls about animals found in swimming pools. The bandicoot pictured here was rescued from a backyard pool!


In another incident, an unusual visitor to a public pool prompted swimmers to flee the pool. WIRES was called to remove a snake that had decided to go for a morning swim!

While the pool was cleared, a trained WIRES reptile rescuer rushed to the scene. Pools can be a trap for snakes causing them to swim around to the point of exhaustion before drowning.


The snake was identified as a yellow-faced whip snake. These are fast-moving, shy snakes that cause little harm. They are mildly venomous with a bite like a bee-sting. Sadly their brownish colour makes them easily misidentified as eastern brown sankes. 

The snake then fell into the skimmer trough around the perimeter of the pool. The fast-flowing water was a certain death-trap but rescuer Rowan had luckily already removed part of the covering grid and was able to grab the snake when it reached the pump-inlet grid. After an assessment and a rest the whip snake was released into nearby bushland, tired but none the worse for its ordeal.

WIRES has also rescued many birds, lizards, bandicoots and even gliders that were found exhausted and waterlogged in pools across the state. The animals frequently have to be brought into care and monitored for possible water inhalation and pneumonia.

If you own a swimming pool there are some simple things you can do to assist wildlife. Always drape something over the edge of your pool so that animals have a surface to grab hold of and climb out.

A length of heavy duty rope or even a bodyboard, secured at one end to something heavy outside the pool, is ideal as it does not absorb water and provides a platform for an exhausted animal to rest on.

Pool steps are also frequently too high to allow animals an easy exit and placing bricks or large stones to the side of each step can make it easier for animals to gain a foothold and climb out.

Always check your pool regularly (twice daily) including in the skimmer box. If you do find any animal trapped in a pool, call WIRES immediately on 1300 094 737 for advice.

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