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Pond Mammals, Birds, and Reptiles
Last Updated: 6/29/20
A juvenile great blue heron on our roof on 10/15/00 which overlooks my ponds. He/she
did not get any fish because the ponds were netted, and the heron was skittish. See my experiences with herons for more information about this
Mammals, birds, and reptiles - friends and foes of your pond
Mammals - now on their own page
Birds - now in their own directory
- Pond Birds Index
- Birds of Prey - eagles, hawks, falcons, kingfishers,
ospreys, and owls
- Herons and Egrets - including thwarting the heron,
and my experiences
- Waterfowl - ducks, geese, swans, and cormorants
On this page:
Deterring Wildlife from Harming the Pond
Attracting Wildlife to the Pond
For information on wildlife including web sites and habitats, see my wildlife page.
See my July 2005 newsletter for a short section on
to try to determine which predator got your fish.
I am currently working on a new birds directory and then will do animals and most of these pages
will be expanded and redone over the next 2 to 4 months.
Note, 10/19/07: I am in the process of moving this page to the animals directory. This page has
not been reviewed (read), divided, updated, links checked, etc. as of yet so there may be
Aside from outright killing the animals (which I oppose), below are listed some of the methods
for deterring wildlife from visiting your ponds to eat your prized fish and lilies.
- Build steep edges to the pond and reduce shallow areas. My pond has a foot drop from the
edging to the water. Herons, raccoons, opposums, skunks, dogs, cats, people, etc. are not as apt
to hunt fish or eat plants if they cannot easily walk into the pond or reach the water from the edge
of the pond. This method does no good against dive-bombing birds like kingfishers.
- Reduce or remove rock work and plants around the pond so there are fewer places for
animals to hide. Since I actually want snakes, turtles, frogs, and small mammals to come to my
pond for a drink and a minor snack, I have lots of rocks and plants. This method would have no
effect on larger mammals who are not scared.
- Add extra plants and animals specifically for the predator to eat. If, for example, you add say
a few hundred rosy red minnows or a few hundred extra anacharis, then that raccoon, snake,
skunk, or turtle, etc. will be so busy eating those to even bother with the goldfish or lilies. You
can also provide food scraps away from the pond to stuff them. Our raccoon prefers junk food to
fish since he is lazy, and it takes energy to chase down fish.
- Provide lots of hiding spots for the fish. This naturally gives them a little bit more of an
advantage. I have large PVC pipe pieces and clay flower pots in the bottom of my pond as well
as plenty of plants (but they are not present in winter for protection).
- Buy a motion detector that is rigged to a water squirter. Most pond catalogs sell "scarecrow"
squirters. Some animals may find this fun though.
- Similarly motion detectors rigged to noise makers and/or lights may discourage large
mammals for a while but they usually get used to them or figure out how to avoid them.
- Buy a dog and keep it outside at night (or day for herons) (enclosed in a fence or otherwise
prevented from leaving the property of course). Of course, this may not be so humane for the
dog. This method works almost too well. Some ponders report their dogs killing raccoons,
opposums, etc. And you had better hope there are no skunks around! Dogs are also good at
keeping deer away from eating your plants.
- Put a net over the pond. This provides the most protection but sometimes animals learn to
get in anyway. During the fall, my pond is netted but a squirrel ate through it to get a drink!
Larger animals could move the netting if not secured while smaller animals like snakes could
easily find an opening.
- Put out a "Have-A-Heart' trap for larger mammals (raccoons, opposums, foxes, skunks (oh,
no!), cats, etc.). Then, move them to a more appropriate home.
To attract wildlife to the pond, do the opposite of most of the advise above on deterring wildlife.
Provide shallow areas; ramps in and out of the water; and lots of hiding places, plants, and rocks.
Plant lots of vegetation in and around the pond. Put as many compatible species in the pond as is
reasonable. Provide different habitats from tiny, fish-less ponds for amphibians to use to large
ponds with fish; deep areas and shallow areas; sunny areas and shady areas. Also, add plants and
animals that wildlife want to eat. "If you build it, they will come." Filling the pond and area
around it with animals and plants that are native to your area will attract the greatest number of
visitors. Local wildlife is adapted to local species for food, cover, etc. Information on creating
wildlife habitats can be found on my wildlife page under web
sites and wildlife habitats.
These are the books that I own and that I used as references for this web page.
Familiar Reptiles & Amphibians of North America, National Audobon Society Pocket
Guide, Alfred A. Knopf, 1996.
Pond Life: A Guide to Common Plants and Animals of North American Ponds and
Lakes by Dr. George K. Reid, Golden Press, 1967. A book chock full of information.
The Audubon Society Nature Guides: Wetlands by William A. Niering, Alfred A.
Go to the Main Animal Index.
See the Master index for the animal pages.