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How to keep birds and other predators from eating my fish?

Pond predators are not a fun problem, but they are however a common one.  With Herons, Hawks, Raccoons, Fox, cats, snakes, and more all licking their lips for a free meal, it’s easy to feel a bit outnumbered.

How can you protect your pond?

When it comes to protecting your fish from pond predators the techniques vary depending on the type of predator.

Pond Netting

For birds like Herons, the solution we see many pond owners using is a strong and sturdy pond net.  Unfortunately, this is not very appealing visually but if you have an insistent heron it may be your strongest option.

Heron Decoy

Some people also use a Heron decoy to deter other birds.  This works in theory because Herons are very territorial animals, however, the decoy may work for a brief time but almost always the REAL Heron eventually realizes your decoy is a fake and will go right back to your pond without hesitation.

Motion-activated sprinkler

For land-based animals like raccoons, foxes, cats, etc., a good deterrent is a motion-activated sprinkler(Scarecrow).  These sprinklers basically spray chilly water just like a lawn sprinkler whenever something approaches it.  Even if the water doesn’t hit your predator the sudden movement will often startle them into hiding.  However, beware, the motion sprinkler cannot tell the difference between friend or foe, so it could end up spraying you or an unprepared house guest.  When installing one it’s always a promising idea to place it somewhere that allows you access without getting sprayed yourself.

Fish Caves

Typically when our #BeeTeam builds a pond we often build it with a fish cave or fish tunnel.  These can also be added if you already have a built pond it will just require a little extra effort.  A fish cave can be built by taking a large flat piece of irregular flagstone that can be set on the bottom shelf of your pond.  This gives your fish a place to hide when they see an unwelcome guest peeking into the water.  A fish tunnel will provide similar safety and they can be purchased as small mesh tents that sit at the bottom of your pond.  If you are looking for a subtler fish tunnel an experience building can take a large piece of pipe, placed it at the bottom of the pond, and build with rock around it to give it a more natural look that will still provide safety for your fish.  

You can also purchase faux fish caves that resemble logs or other natural-looking pond additions that can help protect your fish.

A well-built pond

The best thing to help your fish avoid predators will always be a well-built pond.  If you are in the planning stages of building your pond you can plan ahead for these fish thieves.  Bigger & deeper ponds are will always help to prevent harmed fish.  The more space they have to dodge predators the harder it is for these crooks to snag their prey.