Older residential wells or those that aren’t properly covered can seem like a sanctuary to some critters. When animals are driven out of their natural homes — perhaps by nearby construction or a storm — they can get creative and ambitious and decide to make your well their new santuary.
Alternatively, they might be in search of water and fall into your well while trying to get a drink. Finding animals in residential wells today is fairly uncommon, thanks to secure coverings, but you should check your well on a regular basis can ensure that there’s no debris, including animal remains.
Some animals, like raccoons, may be infected with the Baylisascaris worm, which can be passed to humans. The likelihood of this happening is slim, but you can’t be too careful.
Animals commonly found in wells and pools include domestic and wild creatures alike, including skunks, rats, raccoons, gophers and even bats from time to time. Most of these animals won’t be a health hazard to humans, since the majority of their germs and diseases can’t infect people. Plus, your well’s filtering system should do a good job of keeping your water clean, even with an intruder in place.
Clean, Safe and Well
If you find an animal in your well and you’re sure it’s dead, you can remove it yourself (otherwise, a well technician can do it for you while ensuring no damage was done to the well or water). First, don disposable gloves and get a bucket or net to fish the animal out. Once you retrieve it, put it in two plastic bags. Set the net or bucket aside to cleanse and disinfect later. The gloves should be disposed of immediately.
Wash your hands thoroughly, and dispose of the carcass according to regulations in your area. Calling the local animal control department is a good first step. In some cases, animal control may want to retrieve the carcass from you. If you rely on well technicians to do this job, they’ll know the right way to dispose of the animal.
Put a Wait on Water
Until you can confirm that your well water and tap water is safe, avoid using it. Stock up on bottled water, and see about showering at a friend’s home. A dead animal in your well may warrant emergency service, in which case your well technician will prioritize a visit to your home.
In addition to potential water contamination, your well tech will check to see if the animal did any physical damage to your well, especially the filtration system. If anyone in your home presents with any health concerns, see a doctor immediately and tell them about the “animal-in-the-well incident.”
Most importantly, stay calm — you and your water are probably OK. Still, play it safe and give Mike Zimmerman Well Services a call for a complete water testing and treatment procedure.