Discouraging critters from checking out your water features

Out here in California the raccoon has become one of the dominant suburban species — and boy, do raccoons love water features. They brazenly turn over pots, trash delicate plants, eat thousand-dollar koi, and generally raise hell. I wish I had a perfect solution for their nightly predations, but I don't. However, here are a few tips for mitigation:

  • Avoid small, easily tipped pots. Use big heavy ones that critters can't overturn.
  • Make a hidey hole for the fish. A big clay pipe lying on the bottom works; so does a cave of bricks with a heavy pot set on top. An overhanging ledge prevents animals from reaching into the water, too.
  • Get dark-colored fish. I suggest this because they're less visible. Cheap feeder goldfish from the pet store are more than adequate for your pond; just be sure to pick the dark ones. Or call your local mosquito abatement district for some (usually free) mosquito fish, which are nearly invisible.
  • Try a little technology. You could use motion-sensing sprinkler heads, electric fencing, or plastic bird netting suspended over the water.
  • Place little vials of coyote or other predator urine in the area. Or use your own, for that matter. (Do this after dark if neighbors can see you. And don't pee in the pond; go next to it.) Don't try to collect predator urine on your own either; you can buy it online or at some nurseries.

Birds of prey, such as great blue herons, may visit your pond on fishing expeditions. You'll enjoy these visits until you see a huge bird fly off with your prized koi. Hawks and owls may also see your pond as a resource — but that's not all bad, especially given the loss of wetlands and other habitats that drives these creatures into our backyards.

Birds of prey are protected by law, so don't even think of taking a potshot at them. Instead, use netting, motion-sensing sprinkler heads, and the family dog as bird deterrents. Herons can sometimes be fooled by decoys. Or try an alligator. (Ha-ha. Just kidding. A grown alligator won't actually fit in a small pond.)

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Vegetable Gardening 101

Vegetable Gardening 101

Start saving money now with Vegetable Gardening 101. Save Money Growing Your Own Vegetables. Are you looking for a way to supplement your food budget? Are you tired of the increasing prices at the grocery stores, especially when it comes to healthy products such as fruits and vegetables?

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment