How can you protect your pond from predators?


Have you ever gone out to your pond and found a few of your favorite fish dead or half eaten by the neighborhood animals? For most pond owners with outdoor ponds this is a constant problem. Birds, raccoons, cats, and other animals often lay claim to ponds as their own personal buffet. However there is hope for this seemingly endless struggle. Let me share a few methods we have used in the past that proved successful.

Hiding places are a must when creating a pond. Fish caves can be purchased or built by placing a piece of slate or flat rock on top of a couple boulders. Be sure to build them in the deepest part of your pond. Most animals do not enjoy getting wet (with the exception of some birds,) and more than likely won’t dive in your pond to catch fish. Floating planters and plants are another way to help your fish hide. They provide a protective covering and allow a place to escape potential predators.

If your problem is primarily with birds there may be an easy solution. Fake, realistic looking birds can be used as a form of protection. Most types of birds are territorial. If another bird is occupying a pond (or open buffet as they see it,) they usually fly off to find another fishing-hole. However, this might not work with every type of bird. Also, if you use this method be sure to reposition the replica bird every week. We have found that they are clever and quickly discover our ruse.

Another inexpensive and fairly effective method is a decoy fish. They are very colorful, fake fish that float in your pond. Birds and other predators tend to go after the slowest, weakest one. The animal will attack the decoy first, allowing the rest of your fish an opportunity to hide!

A more maniacal deterrent is the use of fake alligators or other predators. Scare away the uninvited! These are simple floaters or statues that can be purchased in any garden or water décor store. Some even come with solar power eyes that glow in the dark!

The simplest method however, would be netting for your pond. Although not the prettiest accessory it definitely works! Pond nets can be bought to fit ponds of all shapes and sizes. Watch out for poorly made nets with weak meshing. These can easily be torn by beaks or claws.

If these inexpensive, simple methods prove unsatisfactory you can use a motion sensor sprinkler. These devices attach to a garden hose and can be mounted on a patio deck or secured in the ground. They spray unwanted animals and/or people with a burst of water when triggered. Although this product is very effective is can be costly.

No method (short of extermination,) will prove 100% effective. There will always be a clever predator that finds a way to outsmart you. However, by using some of the ideas shared with you, you can convert your all you can eat buffet to a once-a-year snack!

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