Are your fish disappearing? Have you noticed your plant vegetation being eaten or destroyed? This is usually the aftermath of a pond predator. So how do you keep these poachers at bay? There are a few different tactics that will help keep pond predators away.
Knowing your enemies will help to maintain a safe and healthy pond ecosystem. The most common predator is the mighty Blue Heron along with other birds like Owls, Cranes, Egrets, and Kingfishers. Among mammals, the raccoon is the biggest culprit but deer, squirrels, foxes, and beavers can wreak havoc as well. Keep an eye on your backyard for these animals.
Now to combat these predators, there are a few measures you can take to deter these critters from feeding on your fish and plants.
1. Make sure your pond is deep. If you have koi or fish, the recommendation is to have the pond be three to four feet deep and if there are shelves to have them 12” to 16” deep. This will allow the fish to swim deep away from predators and having deep shelves will deter the animals from going in the water to feed but still allows vegetation to grow. The vegetation also serves as a hiding place for fish.
2. Hiding places for fish are crucial. In addition to plants, having a large pipe or sections of wide diameter black PVC tubing or corrugated tubing help to cover the fish. You can also use a fish refuge, which is a hard mesh cage that allows fish in but keeps predators out.
3. Covering your pond with a fine netting is a safe and great way to keep predators away. It is cheap, easy to find in stores, easy to install, and denies predators access to your fish.
4. Decoys are a creative and decorative way to trick a predator from feeding on your pond. Blue Herons, for instance, are territorial hunters and will not intrude on an area they perceive are dominated by one of their kind. Snakes, alligators, and owls also serve as good decoys to scare off animals and birds. Placing a plastic or metal koi in the pond is a great decoy as well. The predator will not be able to eat through the material and may be inclined to feed elsewhere.
5. Spray repellents ward off animals with the use of smell and taste. It is usually cost efficient and can be sprayed anywhere which makes for easy use. It is recommended to respray in intervals or after rainfall.
6. Alarms, like Animal Away, keep predators away from your flower beds and out of your pond. It is a motion detector that emits a high pitched sound only wildlife can hear and uses flashing lights to scare them off. You can also use a motion detector to trigger your exterior lighting at night time to ward off animals. The ScareCrow is another device that uses a motion detector and sprinkler to distract animals with a squirt of water to frighten them off your property.
7. Fencing can help keep wildlife off your property. Using electric fencing will deter most non flying predators from getting near your pond. Setting up fishing line spaced very close together will scare birds once their feet hit the line.
8. Believe it or not your dog could be a great deterrent to predators. A good guard dog will scare away potential poachers with their presence and their bark.
9. Placing feeders and waterers in remote areas of your property can dull the attraction of the pond. Animals are looking for food and water, so naturally they will choose the easier option.
Predator proof your pond with these 9 simple steps. They will give you peace of mind to know your plants and fish are protected and the only thing you have to worry about is enjoying your pond.