toronto raccoon swimming

Toronto raccoon caught taking a leisurely swim in backyard pool

Uh... did you know that raccoons can swim? Because they fully can and look mad cute doing it, as one Toronto couple found out the fun way when a plump nightboi took a dip in their pool.

Catherine Creager and James Novak were amused to see a raccoon dipping its incredibly dexterous little hands into their backyard pool on Thursday afternoon — and then shocked when the garbage-gobbler decided to get in and cool off.

Video footage from the encounter shows the critter scoping out the water as Novak laughs in disbelief. Then, after ambling around the perimeter of the pool, the raccoon uses some built-in steps to slowly ease himself in. Like a people!

"This is insane," says Novak as the raccoon doggy paddles (rocky paddles?) around. "There is a raccoon swimming in our pool."

Creager tweeted the clip, joking about how it was too crowded in the Humber River for their "special visitor" to take a socially-distanced swim.

A subsequent tweet contains another video of the raccoon, moving around in the water like a champ (PBS says that raccoons have great swimming skills and can stay in water for hours).

Concerned that the little guy might need help, Novak guided him back to the stairs using a pool skimmer.

The raccoon was unfazed and got right back in, two more times.

The pool-hopping cutie became so comfortable around his human hosts, in fact, that he chilled out on the deck for a while to dry off afterwards, allowing Creager to get a poolside glamour shot.

Just to be safe, Creager called a few experts to ask about the little guy's seemingly unusual behaviour.

Creager said that neither animal control or the experts at AAA Gates' Wildlife Control had heard of such a thing happening in Toronto (and both have plenty of experience with raccoons going where they shouldn't).

"[They] called him the Michael Phelps of raccoons!" tweeted Creager with a photo of the athletic animal.

Passionate as though he may be about swimming (or merely cooling down on a hot summer day), the raccoon isn't quite as buff as Phelps is — though he clearly would eat as much as the Olympian if given a chance and a dumpster.

Lead photo by

Catherine Creager


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