Controlling Leeches, Frogs, Muskrats and other Pond Predators

When managing a pond, it is important to be aware of the many residents that will call it home. Birds, fish, amphibians, and rodents will flock to a well-kept pond. There will also be predators playing their part in the pond’s balanced ecosystem. You should make sure to monitor them and decide if you need to take action should a certain predator species become too unbalancing. Below are a few of the most notorious pond predators.

Pond Leech Control
Leeches can harm a pond’s fish population if they become too numerous. They are also quite unsightly and often cited as being a reason why many people do not like to swim in ponds. Leeches like to reproduce in the mucky bottom of the pond. For long term pond leech control, it is important to reduce the buildup of that muck. By using a product such as Sparklear, you can help reduce the size of their breeding ground and limit their population growth.

For a quicker way to control a leech infestation in a pond, you can use a home made baited trap. To do this, take a coffee can and puncture holes approximately 1/8 to ¼ inch in size. Make sure that the sharp “burs” are pointed towards the inside of the can (you do this by punching the holes on the outside of the can going in). The burs will prevent the leeches from leaving the can. Then, put some raw meat inside the can to bait the leeches. Replace the lid and submerge the can under water. Place a rock on top to keep the trap in place. You should check the trap daily and remove and destroy any contained leeches.

Pond Frog Control
A few frogs here and there are nice to have, but occasionally frog populations can get out of control. Though typically not though of as predators, frogs can have a disruptive effect on a pond’s ecosystem in times where they have over-reproduced. Frogs like to hide in emergent plants such as cattails. If you clear away large portions of cattails using the Open Water Kit, the frogs typically will disperse and move on to other areas better suited for their needs.

Another way to combat frog over-population is to introduce some bass in your pond. Bass will feed on the frogs as an additional source of food.

Pond Muskrat Control
If muskrats have made a home out of your pond, you may be experiencing some annoyances. Muskrats like to tunnel holes throughout the pond which can lower water levels. The most effective way to engage in pond muskrat control is to disrupt their diet. Muskrats like to eat aquatic vegetation such as cattails, water lilies, and other pond weeds. By reducing the number of weeds available to them, the muskrats will be forced to move on to another area that better suits their nutritional needs.

Heron Control In Ponds
Though majestic and beautiful, these birds are often dreaded by owners of fish ponds due to the bird’s ability to cause a case of “disappearing fish.” Herons are a protected species, so it is unlawful to capture or harm them in any way. Do not try to chase a heron out of your yard – these birds will readily attack when threatened, and like to spear their adversaries between the eyes with their sharp bills.

There’s a reason why you will typically only ever see one heron in a pond at a time. These birds are notoriously territorial and will not feed where another heron is currently residing. Because of this, one control method is to put up a heron decoy in your pond. However, herons are smart birds and may figure out that the decoy is a fraud.

One option to try is to use a pond dye such as Loch Ness that will provide some cover for the fish.

Raccoon Control
Raccoons can be quite troublesome due to their destructive nature. They are nocturnal and will feed on fish in the shallower areas of your pond during the night. One method of controlling raccoons is to set out live traps to catch the animals so they can be transported to another area.

Snapping Turtle Control
Snapping turtles are carnivores and will eat anything they can take a bite out of. They can be easily identified by their beak-like jaws and wavy looking shells. Snapping turtles feed by surprise attacks and have been known to attack ducklings. These amphibians are also notorious for being quite belligerent when out of the water so it is not advised that you approach or otherwise try to handle a snapping turtle. Their jaws are powerful enough to amputate a human finger, and their necks are long enough to bite hands holding their sides.

If you believe there is only a single snapping turtle in your pond, then the best control option is to call a professional animal remover and have them capture and relocate the turtle.