If you own a pool, you no doubt know that it’s a wonderful luxury balanced out by some hard, inescapable realities: Namely, you’ve got to maintain the darn thing. Mostly that means sifting out leaves, insects, and other refuse that falls in. But it’s also possible that you could wake up to find that something bigger has made a splash in there, and your regular skimmer may not be adequate to fish it out.
Read on to see some of the more jaw-dropping things homeowners have found in their pools.
A cow on the moo-ve
Behold the bovine that fell into a public pool full of kids during a swim meet in an undisclosed area in this mesmerizing 2014 footage. Wacky, yes. Unusual? Actually, no.
“There are lots of times where you’ll see deer, elk, and such who’ve gotten stuck in pools,” says aquatic facility operator instructor trainer Maria Bella. “Water is attractive as much to animals as little kids. The trouble is, unlike a pond or a beach, pools are not a sloping entry, so they can’t find a way out. An animal isn’t going to instinctively know to use the steps. So once they’re in, they’re in.”
This flustered cow was eventually corralled out, but this calamity could have been prevented in the first place with a good fence. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Safety Barrier Guidelines for Residential Pools recommends that fences should be a minimum of 4 feet high, with spacing between vertical barriers no greater than 4 inches, and include self-latching gates.
A crocodile sick of the swamp
Apparently even crocodiles don’t love swimming in swamp water. Four days after buying a home in the Florida Keys near Islamorada, a Pennsylvania couple discovered that the property already had a resident—an 8-foot-long crocodile that often took leisurely swims in the property’s pool.
As soon as the homeowners (who wished to remain anonymous) arrived on site this January, they spotted the reptile “basically just chilling” in the water, said Robert Dube of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Shortly after the worried couple called the sheriff, Dube told CBS Miami that the croc simply sauntered off. “[He] decided he didn’t want all the attention, and he climbed out of the pool and slid back into the Atlantic Ocean.”
“A strong automatic safety cover that is in place whenever the pool is not in use is an excellent idea,” he says. “It keeps out leaves, grass, dust, pollen, ducks, and alligators and such as well.”
A car seeking underground parking
A 4 a.m. joyride in 2014 turned into a literal downer in Cypress, TX, when a teenage boy and a pal lost control of his new Dodge Charger, smashed through a wooden fence, then plunged into neighbor Leighanna Brownlee’s in-ground pool.
“What woke us up was probably the tidal wave of water hitting the back of our house,” Brownlee told KTRK about the accident that left her family’s pool contaminated with oil. But hey, it could have been worse: The pool kept the car from hitting the side of the house.
“It could have hit our bedroom, my side of the bed,” Brownlee said.
A hot-tub-loving bear
In August, Tony and Denise Diering looked out the back door of her Vancouver home to see a huge black bear in her pool. Apparently, the animal found the water too cold for its taste, since it transitioned into the Dierings’ hot tub next. After enjoying the soothing jets for 15 minutes, the bear got out and wandered back into the woods. The couple caught most of it on video—and cute though as the bear may be, Tony Diering told CBC News he hopes never to see the animal again.
“In the neighborhood there are a lot of small kids, and obviously it’s a safety concern for our neighbors,” he said. “I just hope the bear can get the message and basically go somewhere else.” Apparently the bear returned later to snack on their bird feeder into oblivion.
Bullets on board
The absolutely last thing you want to be worried about while doing a cannonball into your pool is getting hit by a stray bullet. Yet that’s exactly what was endured by one family living 1,400 feet from the Saranac-Lowell State Game Area shooting range in Ionia, MI.
According to WoodTV.com, the range has tried to keep its ammo within bounds by redirecting its target practice east rather than south, where most homes are located. Nonetheless, things came to a head after the family found a bullet in its pool—one of three over the past two years. So much for “relaxing” poolside.
A skinny-dipping dude
When all is said and done, the most annoying pool trespassers are still humans. In July, a woman in Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada, returned home from running errands to find an 18-year-old man on her property unabashedly naked. He’d not only skinny-dipped in her pool, but he also helped himself to a snack and a shower. Once he was spotted, the man streaked into the woods.
Local police tracked down the exhibitionist in tall grass. Durham Regional Police Sergeant Bill Calder told Newstalk 1010 that “police feel confident that drugs and alcohol were factors.”
And there’s much more reason for alarm than simply being grossed out about nude dudes in your home.
“If there is an injury, even to a drunk or drugged-up trespasser, a lawsuit will probably result,” explains Aquatic Safety Research Group’s Tom Griffith.
So to protect yourself against trespassers and lawsuits, make sure to post “private property” signs around your pool and include motion-detecting lighting, pool alarms, and other deterrents. His favorite? Thorny hedges. “There are a lot of thick landscaping hedges that simply cannot be breached.” Especially without clothes!