What are pond predators, including heron? They are animals that stalk the fish in your pond. Around the Philadelphia area, heron tend to be the biggest problem.
How can you tell predators are stalking? If you notice fish missing, that’s the most obvious sign. People also sometimes find half-eaten fish in their pond. You may also notice your fish acting scared and hiding when it’s time for food. This is another sign.
There are many steps you can take to keep heron out of your pond. It usually takes a combination of these steps and diligence on your part to save your fish:
Building fish caves into your pond from the beginning is your first line of defense. Fish caves allow your fish a place to hide when they are threatened. For fish caves to be effective though, they must be placed deep enough at the bottom of your pond. These are also one of the things we recommend the most as a deterrent to predators Installing a fish cave does not take away from the beauty of your pond and should be one of the first places to start
Blue Heron Decoys
These are one of the first things we recommend as a preventative measure after fish caves. These can range from a heron statue making heron think there’s someone already there to an alligator statue—which makes predators think there is something there to get THEM. You can also try some plastic decoy fish, which might be snatched first, giving real fish time to hide. While none of these are foolproof, they are often a good place to start. Aquascape makes a heron decoy we recommend—it can be found here. They also make a swan decoy, which can be found here.
This netting does work to deter predators but it can detract from the beauty of your pond. It is a great way to keep the heron out, but you do need to consider the aesthetic look of your pond with the netting. In addition, netting is a challenge if you have or want any pond plants. Plants cannot grow through the net and create holes.
String out fishing line across your pond in a crisscross pattern. As herons land, they will get tripped up in the fishing line, giving your fish time to hide. Keep in mind this might be harmful to other birds as well though
Dogs– the Ultimate Pond Predator Deterrent!
A dog can be the best deterrent to predators. Not every dog though has the demeanor to chase after prey so we recommend bird dogs like: Labradors, Spaniels, Pointers, English Setters, etc.
Water Lilies and other floating plants that cover the top of your pond will help hide your fish and may give them enough time to escape predators.
This is not the same scarecrow you place in your garden to scare away birds. This scarecrow sprays a stream of water when motion is detected which spooks the predator
A motion sensor is connected to a power outlet which turns on a radio. This works well, as predators don’t like sudden sounds.
Regardless of which steps you take, make sure you move things around often and stay on your toys. Pond Predators are sneaky creatures. It’s like playing with the Road Runner. Just try to stay one step ahead. For more information on any of these items, contact us.