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Pond predators

If you have a pond in your garden, you may be familiar with the problem of predators like birds, raccoons, and cats trying to catch your fish or disrupt the ecosystem. To protect your pond and the wildlife that lives in it, here are some tips on how to keep predators at bay. After you've taken the trouble to stock your pond with fish, or encourage lots of frogs, toads, newts and dragonflies, the arrival of a voracious predator to gobble them all up again is both upsetting and infuriating.

The worst pond enemy

Grey herons are among the worst offenders: once a heron finds your pond you can lose your fish, and your frogs, in a single night. Cats looking for a quick snack, foxes and even dogs wanting a swim can also be devastating to the life in your pond.
Netting is a quick and easy way to protect your pondlife - sturdy pond netting is available on the roll or in handy packs in our garden centre. However it's sometimes not practical, especially if you have mature pond plants. In this case a fence of canes strung with netting or fishing line around the edge keeps most things away. Herons are also put off by tinfoil plates hung off canes to flash and clatter in the wind.
There are also high-tech options available in our garden centre, from trip-wire activated scarers to audio devices or water jets triggered by motion sensors.

Solutions for protecting your pond

Install a fence or netting

One of the most effective ways to keep predators away from your pond is to install a fence or netting. This will create a physical barrier that prevents animals from accessing the pond. You can use a mesh netting that covers the surface of the pond or a fence that surrounds the perimeter of the pond. Make sure the netting is taut and secure so predators can't slip through any gaps.

Use motion-activated deterrents

Motion-activated deterrents are another effective way to scare off predators. These devices use motion sensors to detect when an animal is nearby and emit a loud noise or flashing lights to startle them. Some motion-activated deterrents also release a burst of water or a scent that repels predators. These devices are easy to install and can be found at most garden centers.

Add hiding spots for fish

Fish need hiding spots to escape predators, so make sure your pond has plenty of vegetation, rocks, and other structures that provide cover. This will give your fish a place to hide when predators are lurking. Make sure the hiding spots are large enough for your fish to swim into and that they are not too close to the surface where they can be easily seen.

Use decoys

Some predators, like herons and raccoons, are territorial and will stay away if they think another predator is in the area. You can use decoys like fake alligators, snakes, or owls to trick predators into thinking there is another predator in the area. This can be an effective way to deter predators, especially if you move the decoys around periodically to make it seem like they are real.

Install motion-activated lights

Another way to deter predators is to install motion-activated lights around the perimeter of your pond. These lights will turn on when an animal is detected, which can startle them and make them flee. Make sure the lights are bright enough to be effective and that they are positioned in areas where predators are likely to approach.

Please ask the staff in our Poynings, Sussex garden centre for more information and advice about keeping your pond safe from predators.

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