What Are the Pond Predators, and How to Protect Your Pond?

The Pond Predator Number One – the Heron

You have planned your garden pond well, designed it lovingly, and also carefully selected the fish. You enjoy the fish as they thrive and feel at home. At some point, you realize that the fish population is becoming more and more depleted. This happens even if your fish are healthy and well cared for by you. There can only be a pond predator at work here that is regularly feasting on your fish. You can protect your pond from such predators with various measures.

The Pond Predator Number One – the Heron

The buffet is open – for the heron. More precisely, it is the gray heron, which is a good hunter. Thanks to its slender shape, stilt-like legs, flexible neck, and long beak, it is incredibly successful. It is also exquisite. Fish up to a size of 14 inches (35 centimeters) are easy prey for him. So even young koi carp cannot slow him down in his hunting instinct.

Since the heron is mainly active in spring and has to feed the hungry beaks of its offspring, you should think about the proper pond protection, especially at this time. Just like all birds, the gray heron is protected (Germany). This has led to an increase in the population in recent times. If the gray heron finds a good food supply, it can reproduce well, as it can then provide well for its young.

Once the gray heron has realized that the table is richly set in your garden, he will come back again and again and decimate your stock of fish. He can empty your garden pond.

The Heron Scare as an Effective Protective Measure

A good heron deterrent is a motion detector that reacts when the heron is approaching. The motion detector is combined with a water gun. A valve opens as soon as the device registers a movement at the pond. The heron gets a shower as a jet is emitted over a larger area. Also, the uninvited guest is deterred by a hissing sound.

Other motion detectors are not combined with a water gun, but they only scare the heron with a loud noise. These measures will not hurt the heron but will effectively stop them. Soon he will stay away from your pond if he is put to flight in this way.

Reflecting Pyramid as Protection

Another heron deterrent is a reflecting pyramid that you place on the water. Such a measure is inexpensive. With simple materials and a dash of creativity, you can make such a defense yourself. The pyramid floats on the water, and it rotates due to the wind and reflects the sunlight. The reflections scare off the heron. Unfortunately, if the sun is not shining, this measure is not practical.

The Protective Net – Not Only a Protection for Ferons

A protective net is fine-meshed and has a subtle color, so it does not spoil the look of your garden pond. Such protective nets are stretched over the pond and are therefore more suitable for small ponds. Cats also have no access to your fish with a pond net. Another advantage is that such a net also protects against the foliage. The disadvantage: If you want to remove algae from the pond, you must first remove the net.

The Plastic Conspecific – Not a Permanent Solution

A dummy heron made of plastic can look deceptively real and be decorative. If the heron notices its plastic colleague, it may be deterred at first. In the long run, however, the plastic heron offers no protection. At some point, the real heron will realize that he does not have to be afraid of this dummy because it does not change its position and does not move. After some time, he will come back and will use it again.

Keep Herons Away With the Right Pond Design

Even when designing your pond, you can think about not providing the heron with an entry path. Herons usually land next to the garden pond or directly at the pond. If the heron does not find a landing site, it will not settle. The heron also likes to land in shallow water. You can place some larger stones in this area. You can also stretch a net over the shallow water area.

You can place your pond under taller trees or protect it with a fence. Beautiful and effective against herons can also be a pergola, which you can cover with climbing plants. Besides, you can plant taller perennials, reeds, or pampas grass in the shore area or design the shore area with stones and sculptures. This is not only beautiful, but the heron has no access. The heron cannot perch well on such objects. If you already have a pond, you can also add such protective measures. A solar sail not only protects the fish from intense sunlight but also from heron attacks. Also, it can counteract the formation of algae.

Protection From Other Birds

Crows, ravens, or jays can also make your pond unsafe and help themselves to smaller fish. For storks, the fish in your pond are also welcome. If there are cormorants, cranes, or kingfishers in your area, they will eventually become uninvited guests at your garden pond. Cormorants are hungry and can consume vast amounts of fish. The rule here is that what protects against herons can also keep other birds away. The best protection here is also the motion detector with a water gun.

The Cat is Part of the Game

Cat lurking by a koi pond

If you have a cat yourself, it will be happy to help itself to your garden pond. The fish in your pond is also a welcome change on the menu for your neighbor’s cat. A net can protect. Since most cats don’t like water, a motion detector with a shower is also a good defense for cats. Place a shallow water zone around the pond. The cat will get its feet wet if it tries to help itself. This is quite unpleasant for most cats. Therefore, they prefer to do without the fish.

Various electrical devices with batteries, which produce sounds, mainly do not deter cats in the long run. You might try the so-called piss-off plants that you plant near your pond. These plants give off a smell that cats don’t like at all.

A berm or fence can also provide protection from cats with smaller mesh. With a barrier, access to the pond is much more difficult for the pussycat.


Grey herons can pose a severe threat to your backyard pond. They like to help themselves to your fish. Also, cranes, storks, cormorants, kingfishers, and ravens do not stop at your fish. You can effectively scare off these predators with a water gun motion detector. If you consider the planning of your pond that there are no flight paths and landing sites, these pond predators will not settle. A water gun as a motion detector can also deter cats.

Florian Egert

I am Florian Egert, the owner of pondlovers.com. I live with my wife and two children in Germany in a small village in the countryside.

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