Pond Predators


Don’t let your beloved Koi, and goldfish fall victim to your local Pond Predator. There are a variety of different things you can do to protect your pond fish from predation. Pond Predators are in every region, every state, and most every situation, with the rare exception of an indoor pond. One of the most elusive and possibly the most notorious pond predator you may ever encounter is the mighty Blue Heron. There are many other predators that specifically prey upon your pond fish, including but is certainly not limited to; raccoons, night herons, green herons, egrets, the opossum and sadly enough, sometimes humans. Most humans are certainly not going to eat your fish but may want to add them to their personal collection of pond fish, although I am constantly told my big beautiful pond fish would be good eatin’.

Skunks, coyotes, bobcats, cougars, mountain lions, bears, hawks, owls, cats, and dogs are often accused of premeditated malice and mayhem to Koi and goldfish populations, but in their defense, I would have to say that most of the time they are falsely accused as pond predators. Now, don’t think for a minute that that this list of wild & domestic animals won’t be attracted to you wonderful pond. Frogs, aquatic snails, semi-aquatic turtles and aquatic plants are relished by many of the pond predators on that list. On rare occasion, I have no doubt that this list of carnivores gets a sample of fish in their diet every now and again, but more often than not, these are NOT the pond predators that sneak into the backyards of heavily populated sub-urban & metropolitan cities, literally undetected to FEAST ON POND FISH.

The simple and quick fix to deter most pond predation from the predators on this list, is the installation of a Scarecrow Motion Detector. The Scarecrow Motion Detector is incredibly easy to install and is extremely effective at deterring pond predators. The Scarecrow Motion Detector is a safe and humane method of keeping a variety of pond predators away from you pond both day and night. Install your Scarecrow Motion Detector in minutes and sleep easy each night, knowing that you have an effective line of defense to protect your pond fish from falling prey to the modern dayPterodactyl of our wonderful fish pond hobby. The installation of these additional products are frequently considered as pro-active steps to deter pond predators in your pond. They include but are certainly not limited to; pond netting, heron decoys and alligator decoys.

Seasonal Pond Predator Considerations

Juvenille Night HeronOrnamental ponds have the potential to fall prey to pond predators year round however there are times of the year when you will want to be on the top of your game. We get dozens of phone calls in the fall right around the end of September into early October, to inquire about an unusually large bird hanging around their pond. After I break the news, you can only imagine the horror on the face of the person that has no idea the bird is actually there too hunt their fish!

Let me just give everyone a friendly warning right here and now. If you have not been visited by a Blue Heron, YET, consider yourself lucky. However, make no mistake about it, these birds are everywhere and when they are on the move and migrating, they just might pit stop at your pond for a little snack; your favorite Koi or goldfish!

Do yourself and your fish a favor and take a couple of precautions to deter these pesky pond predators. Do a tune-up on your Scarecrow Motion Detector and if you don’t have one, install one ASAP. Other methods to deter the feathered fish eating pond predators include putting a net over the pond, stringing piano wire above the pond, installing a patio-style cover, installing fish tunnels or caves in your pond for the fish to hide in, putting a dog on patrol next to the pond 24 hours a day, by designing bigger, deeper ponds and I have even heard contrary to my belief, that the alligator decoy and the blue heron decoy works wonders, even here in California!


Personal Predator Moment

RaccoonNow, let me share with you one of my scariest personal pond predator moments! Several years ago, I was awakened just before dawn by my dogs outside barking franticly. Instinct overtook me; I just knew I had to get to my pond and FAST!

I ran outside, in my skivvies no doubt, around the bend, approached my pond and standing in the top shelf of my pond was this humongous, Great Blue Heron! My heart immediately sank. I waved my arms, yelling at the top of my lungs and just before this bird, possibly The Spawn of Satan Himself, displayed this massive wing span of over SIX FEET, the bird glanced back at me as it lifted off.

Freaked by this emotional visual in the birds face, I spun around just in time to watch, what I can only assume was The Spawn of Satan’s mate; lift off from a low branch in my Deodara Tree over hanging my pond. To add intensity to the already intense moment, the bird had to swoop in a downward motion, towards me, to navigate below the limbs of the tree as a part of its getaway plan! Further solidifying my doubt of the myth, that a statue of a Heron will protect your fish from predation by the Heron!

As you can only imagine, I dropped to my stomach in the cold wet dirt, remember in my skivvies! Oh you think that’s funny do you? Just think what the early bird joggers thought! Yes, this pond is in my front yard.

It may seem like these nasty water fowl pond predators, i.e. egrets, night herons and blue herons, have not bothered your fish all summer, but let me remind you that your water temperatures and fish metabolisms are at their peaks in the heat of summer!

You will find that as your water temperature cools in the fall, so will the metabolism of your fish, equaling slower reflex movements from your fish meaning, your fish become much EASIER PREY for the Pterodactyl of today’s pond world!

I personally have had the most success keeping these pesky birds away with the use of a motion detector sprinkler device called, a Scarecrow. Be sure you have a working Scarecrow motion detector for every 100 square feet of surface area in your water feature to deter predators from hunting your scaled pets that deliver so much tranquility to you year round.

Understand that by design the Blue Heron hunts fish; that by design, camouflage extremely well, in natural ponds, lakes, rivers and streams with sometimes little to no visibility in the water! So you see why a small pond, with brightly colored fish, in crystal clear, two-foot deep water is like a dream meal for these birds.

You have to understand that as the Blue Heron flies over your home on the way to its local fishing hole and spies your pond; a smorgasbord is what crosses the bird’s mind.

FoxMake no mistake; The Blue Heron is a very successful & persistent pond predator that will literally wait at your water’s edge, motionless, for hours on end, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. The bird even has a trick to lure your fish to the surface for easy pickins’. Regurgitation! That’s right the Blue Heron will often blow chunks, Ralph, barf, puke or whatever you want to call it, into the water, luring your fish to come up for a tasty snack and then, become the meal themselves!

The very latest breaking news I have on these crafty birds habits are hunting your ponds on the full moon cycle! These birds are crepuscular, which I always thought meant that they were by your pond hunting at dawn and dusk! The actual meaning of crepuscular is; active in the twilight! I now have record of a Great Blue Heron hunting right here in Redlands at 10:30 PM on the a full moon in September!

Consider starting a Pond Predator Neighborhood Watch Program with your pond buddies! One morning on my way to work I got a call from a fellow pond owner and he said frantically, “Hey Eric, a Blue Heron just left my place and it’s heading in your direction!”

I thought, Cranky! I couldn’t remember if I had turned my Scarecrow Motion Detectors back on after feeding my wife’s goldfish pond that morning, so I immediately flipped a U turn, quite possibly illegally, and broke several speed limits headed for home!

As I pulled into the driveway, I couldn’t believe my eyes; the Great Blue Heron was standing right next to my pond and YES my Scarecrow motion detectors were OFF! As the Blue Heron took flight, off above the roof tops, I picked up the phone and called a couple pond owner buddies that live in the wayward direction of the Heron’s route!

Don’t forget to install fresh nine volt batteries to your Scarecrow Motion Detectors on a monthly basis because these Feathered Pond Predators will make daily rounds to your water feature testing your consistency! The day that you forget to turn your Scarecrow Motion Detectors on, turn off the water source or your battery dies, the Blue Heron or similar bird of prey will be there to capitalize on your forgetfulness.

The Pond Predator Help Hotline is (800) 522-5043.