Pond Fish Predators
Pet World Visit
Ricky Raccoon. Forget kitty cats. Raccoons pose the biggest threat to the inhabitants of your backyard water garden.
These masked midnight marauders can climb any fence you can afford to build. Raccoons love fish, crayfish, mussels, snails, turtles -- basically anything that lives in water.
Most people think of cats as the biggest threat to their pool fish. However, raccoons working on the night shift (when your fish are snoring) go right into the water after your aquatic appetizers.
Comets and koi usually move fast enough to evade raccoons. Fantails sort of waddle up as if asking, Whats for dinner.
Pond lights help. So do barking dogs. Keep your dogs away from raccoons. Raccoons can kill dogs. By the way, raccoons also like dog food. Feed your dogs inside the house. If you build your pond with a ledge overhang (so raccoons cannot touch the bottom), theoretically, raccoons wont drop in for a swim and a snack. They want to know they can check out after they check in. Pretty smart little cookies, eh?
Sneaky Snakes. Both brown water snakes and garter snakes snack on fish. Due to their smaller size, they pose a threat only to smaller fishes. Half-grown goldfish and four-inch koi need not fear Iowa snakes.
Chompy Turtles. Turtles love fish. Snappers, softshells, red-eared sliders, and western painteds all grow wild in Iowa. The first two cant get into your pond by themselves. The other two can wander in under their own power.
Bad News Birds. You probably wont see blue herons in your backyard. Although weve seen them while swimming in the raccoon river that runs next to Greys Lake. We also saw one at Glendale Cemetery -- in the pond right next to the well traveled University Avenue. Herons usually dont like people at all. And you wont see bald eagles and ospreys. Eagles congregate below the Red Rock spillway to eat stunned carp. Theyre way too lazy to work your pond for fish. Theyre not big people fans either (unless theres a pile of dead fish around). However, you might see those little kingfisher birds show up in your backyard. They do like your fishes.
Fish farmers hate all long-legged birds.
Ollie Owl. Youre relaxing in your recliner on a warm summer night watching re-runs, while this guys cruising your backyard. Since owls work the night shift. you rarely see them in action.
Better known as rodent eaters, owls eat anything smaller than them that moves. Your backyard watering hole attracts him and other wildlife. As your snoozing fish drift to the top, he glides past and snags a midnight meal.
Several strands of monofilament fishing line will keep owls from flitting above your pond.
Friendly Dogs. Dogs like pond water -- almost as much as they like dead squirrels. They occasionally feel the need to practice their retrieving skills on your fish. Most dogs like to jump in the water for the heck of it. They think it makes them smell better.
Freddie Frog. Bullfrogs grow huge and can catch fish. Leopard and tree frogs pose no problem -- if you like the sound of the male frogs singing to their potential lady friends. Personally, we prefer the sounds of frogs and crickets over most TV sounds.
Curious Kids. Ponds attract fish like a magnet (certainly better than magnet schools). They like to watch your fish, of course. Some like to hone their angling skills with home-made fishing poles. Others prefer home-made bows and arrows. Jackets make fair to middlin fish seines. Sticks make good fish whackers. And rocks make great splashes whether you can hit a fish or not. Flagstones make the best splashes. It is rumored that many lakes have gone dry from all the rocks thrown into them by neighborhood kids. Perhaps kids should have been at the top of this list. Keep your eye on them. Like raccoons, fences dont stop them. LA
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