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How to Keep Predators Away From Your Pond

How to Keep Predators Away From Your Pond

Ponds create an incredible ecosystem right in your yard. The freshwater can attract wildlife, from dragonflies to rabbits, that are relaxing to watch on a beautiful day. This water source can also attract predators like raccoons and birds. Koi, goldfish, and other pond fish aren’t typically native to where you live. These fish do not have many defense mechanisms against local wildlife predators. Learn more about keeping predators and pests away from your pond. 

Pond Predators

The most common pond predators are raccoons, cats, possums, otters, bullfrogs, snapping turtles, foxes, herons, and kingfishers. Predators like herons and raccoons are particularly smart and well-adapted for hunting fish. 

Types of predators


If your fish are suddenly going missing during the day without a trace, birds are most likely the cause. Herons, particularly Blue Herons, enjoy eating fish and even larger koi from your pond. These birds can eat lots of fish in a short amount of time. Kingfishers and Egrets are other possible candidates. Some birds may swoop down to feed, while others use their long legs to wade in the water, waiting patiently for the right moment to strike.  


In urban areas, cats, raccoons, and possums are popular pond predators to watch out for. As land is developed, wildlife habitats are often destroyed, eliminating natural food sources. Foxes, otters, muskrats, beavers, and even sometimes bears may come into your yard in search of food. Many of these animals hunt during the night. If you’re noticing fewer fish first thing in the morning, these predators may be the culprits. 

Frogs and snakes

Smaller fish may be snacked on by frogs and snakes. Bullfrogs and snapping turtles can prey on larger fish. These types of predators hunt at any time during the day.

How to Keep Your Fish Protected

Use Plants to Help Hide Your Fish

Pond fish must have places to hide from predators, whether they’re hunting from the sky or the edge of the pond. Floating pond plants give your pond fish and other pond life shelters on the pond’s surface, making it harder for predators to spot them. 

Emergent plants create a nice barrier along the edge of the pond, so it's harder for predators to hunt from the perimeter. Submerged plants are also essential to keep fish hidden under the surface. These plants at the bottom of the pond allow your fish to stay hidden deeper in the pond where many predators do not want to venture into

You can even use faux plants like the Floating Lily Pad Variety for a low-maintenance option.

Create Refuge Spots

If the fish have enough notice, they will try to swim away from predators. Deep ponds, filled with plants and other safe spaces, make it easier for fish to hide. Create your own fish hiding places using black PVC tubing that allows the fish to swim in and wait out a predator. You can also create DIY underwater caves and koi castles for your fish. 

Make it Harder for Predators to See them

Pond tint helps to make your pond water bluer, which helps to hide fish from birds and other predators that hunt from above the surface. The pond tint also filters UV rays and helps prevent algae. Keeping the water agitated and constantly circulating with a waterfall or fountain makes it more difficult for predators to hunt and gives your pond fish an extra advantage. 

Add a Decoy

Many pond predators are territorial and can be spooked or deterred with a well-placed decoy. Scarecrows, for example, aren’t just Halloween decorations. They were originally used by farmers to prevent birds and other animals from eating their crops. Find a decorative pond spitter or statue to place near your pond to help scare away predators. 

The Antique Koi Spitter is a dual-purpose decoy. It helps to deter predators while doubling as a water feature that agitates that water. Make sure to move it every few weeks so the predators don’t catch on. 

Be Mindful of Pond Edging

Many pond predators stalk your fish from the edge of the pond. Higher pond edges with steep sides make it harder for these predators to hunt, as they can’t get easily in and out of the pond. A higher edge will make it harder for animals to escape if they fall in. Edging like bamboo and other border plants and tall grass can make it harder for herons and raccoons to get their footing to hunt along the pond's perimeter. 

Don’t Attract Predators

Be mindful of where you place your trash and compost, and make sure they’re well-sealed. Raccoons, foxes, and other pond predators may initially be attracted to your trash and then notice your pond after. You can try to place an alternative source of food and water for predators away from the pond. If you have bigger problematic predators like raccoons, you can humanely catch and relocate them using a live trap. 

Ponds bring all sorts of incredible wildlife to your backyard, but sometimes unwanted predators come searching for a snack. While your pond is a great source of fresh water for local wildlife, you may need to take extra precautions to keep your fish safe from any predators. These tips can help protect your fish while still letting you enjoy the wildlife scene in your yard.



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