Protective Measures Against Pond Predators

Almost every pond owner will have already experienced this terrifying moment. You don’t think of anything bad, let your gaze wander over the pond and suddenly it’s there: the heron. Perhaps he is still sitting some distance away scouting out your garden pond. Or he is already standing by the water and is after the pond inhabitants. It is now time to act to prevent possible losses among the pond inhabitants. In this post, you will learn how you can protect your pond animals from pond predators.

The Heron

The native gray heron is probably the most stubborn of all pond predators. With its stilt-like legs, long beak, and flexible neck, it is ideally equipped to fish innocent fish up to 35cm out of your own pond. Pond protection is therefore particularly important in spring when the bird has to look after its young. Mainly because the protected heron is slowly recovering and the population numbers are increasing, it is becoming an increasingly common problem. Once he has found out that he will not be disturbed by your pond and has once been successful in fishing, he becomes a permanent visitor and does not rest until the whole pond is empty.

Fortunately, there are several ways to steal your own pond from the heron as a hunting area. Our number 1 in all defense methods are so-called heron fright, a combination of a water pistol and motion detector. When the device registers movement in the pond, a valve opens and a volley of water is “shot” over a larger area. This involuntary shower and the associated hissing noise are effective against unwelcome guests. A similar variant is a device that produces a loud noise instead of a water bullet. With these defense options, you can drive away from the pond robbers without harming the animals. And once the heron notices that it is disturbed with every approach, it will soon look for another hunting area.

Another possibility is a reflecting pyramid floating on the water. This rotates in the wind on the water and reflects the sunlight. The reflections created in this way successfully deter the fish robber. With a little skill, you can easily build such a mirror pyramid yourself.

Pond Design as Protection

An important point in a heron-safe pond is the lack of landing space. If the bird cannot find a suitable landing spot, it cannot even settle down by the pond and begin its deadly game. Most of the time, gray herons land at or next to the pond, at best in shallow, shallow water. If you densely populate the pond with round stones, flower pots, garden sculptures, and similar things that the heron cannot sit well on, you will make landing difficult for him. You can also deprive the pond robber of the opportunity to settle down by the pond by clever bank planting.

As already said, the heron can also use larger shallow water zones as a runway. The best option here is to stretch a network over these areas. It doesn’t look that great, but it is an effective protection against unwanted approaches in the pond zone. However, if small birds get caught in the net, they must be removed immediately.

A similar, but more inconspicuous variant here is the tensioning of the entire pond area with thin floral wire or fishing line, which, depending on the species, even glitters in the sun and is a double deterrent. However, the installation here is more complex than with the pond network. The wires must be stretched across the pond in one direction at a distance of approx. 30cm, then again at a right angle with a distance of around 50cm. This large grid restricts the heron’s freedom of movement in the garden pond extremely and makes this area unattractive for him. The problem here, however, is the complex installation and the hindrance for work on the pond, for example removing leaves.

In some ponds, setting up a herring mock-up has also proven effective. Gray herons do not usually fish in waters that are already given to another bird. However, if the heron notices while exploring its potential new hunting area for hours that the strange bird has not changed its position for days or weeks, it could smell the roast. So make sure that you move the plastic bird regularly.

Our last suggestion is the use of an electric fence. Whether you want to use this defense on your own fence is up to each pond owner. This solution is guaranteed to be effective, but no protective measure against fish robbers should end in cruelty to animals!

Other Pond Predators

Unfortunately, however, it is not just the heron that likes to attack its own fish. Storks, cormorants, and kingfishers will sooner or later find their way to the pond and are further dangers from the air. Jay and cranes are also not uncommon when the range of “delicious fish” is easy to get.

The second most common fish predator, however, is the common house cat. It doesn’t even have to be the neighbor’s devious tomcat who fishes fish out of the table. Even your own cat often shows no respect for the fishing ban that you have imposed. It is all the more important that you protect your pond animals from cats.

A pond cover net or water-spraying protective measures (such as the heron fright), which are also available with an ultrasonic signal, are also effective here. However, with cats, you can simply design the pond environment to be “unhunting”. To do this, you should first surround the pond with a large, shallow wet zone, because most cats are afraid of water and would not risk getting wet paws. Fish will also not be in the shallow water zone if there is danger. Therefore this is a relatively safe solution, but it will make life easier for predatory birds. It would be better if you also design the pond bank with an aggravating embankment shape, which makes pond fishing impossible for house tigers with free access.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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