“If you build it, they will come.”
Water alone is an attraction to so many different creatures. Some stay and some just stop in for a visit. When you start talking about pond water you are now talking about an eco-system, which is much larger than just a hole in your yard….it becomes a whole new world.
Frogs- Most times they will take up residence in your pond. A frog tadpole may take up to 2 years to develop legs. There are many varieties; green frogs, leopard frogs and bullfrogs, just to name a few. Beware though, a bullfrog will eat anything it can catch; which includes mosquitoes, flies, dragonflies; and even koi, goldfish, snakes, birds, etc.
Toads- Land dwellers who visit in the spring to mate and lay their eggs; long, clear, jelly-like strings with black dots inside. The “toad-poles” will hatch and inhabit the pond for a few short weeks before they grow legs and hop away.
Snails- Beam in from outer space. (Not really, but it sure seems like it.) Some, like the Trapdoor and Ramshorn, are beneficial for eating algae and dead vegetation in the pond, some, like the Great Pond Snail, will devour your luscious pond plants. A fun fact- a snail can survive underground, with no water, for up to two years.
Dragonflies- Mate and spend their nymph stage in the water. They even eat mosquito larvae and other aquatic insects and worms. In some cultures, dragonflies represent good luck or prosperity.
Turtles- Most often, an omnivorous snapping turtle, will eat anything in the pond that suits his fancy. They love to hide in the mucky bottom of a pond and their razor-sharp claws can shred a liner and underlayment if they see fit to nest in your man-made stream.
Chipmunks & Mice- Pesky little critters who think you put all those rocks there just for them. They are cute, but can nest behind the liner and chew their way through it without you knowing, until you realize there is a leak … somewhere.
Snakes- The sheriff of the water garden world, keeps the rodent population to a minimum. (You don’t need that riffraff there anyway.) Some snakes will eat smaller fish but koi fish are usually safe due to their size.
Ducks- Typically just stop in for a quick swim and a snack of aquatic plants.
Geese- May pick your pond as a resting area on their journey to wherever they are headed.
Heron- Frequent a pond to feast on your pond fish and frogs. They are ominous creatures with infinite patience and audacity and will typically return if not deterred away.
Hawks- Pondsnipers who watch patiently for the right moment to swoop in and snag a fish, frog, chipmunk, mouse or any other small critter they have a craving for.
Owls- The “hawk” of the night.
Birds- Drawn to the water for drinks and bathing. Fun Fact: A humming bird can hear a droplet of water from two miles away.
Cats- Curious and playful creatures who are just honing in their hunting skills. Most well cared for house cats are not interested in eating pond fish, they just want to see if they’ll come out to play.
Raccoons- Scavengers who mostly just want to wash their food before they eat it. But, if an easy opportunity presents itself for a nice fish dinner, they will take it. A distant cousin of the cat, they typically don’t like to go in water.
Skunks- Love the taste of floating pond plants like water hyacinth and water lettuce.
Deer- Are usually just looking for a cool drink of water, but might snack on some varieties of pond plants.
Mink- Carnivorous predators who can swim underwater and wipe out an entire pond fish population in one night. They are usually the culprit when your fish seemingly “disappear into thin air.”
River Otters- Reintroduced in 1986 by the Division of Wildlife, to repopulate Ohio with its native species. They are cousins of the mink with very similar hunting habits.
As you can see, when building a pond, you create an eco-system. When you create an eco-system, you can expect life in a pond to grow into much, much more than the eye can see.
We do not necessarily want to welcome all these critters and creatures to our pond with wide open arms – so you may want to read our blog on “Keeping Unwanted Critters Out of your Pond.”
Visit our website to shop for pond care accessories and pond supplies online. You can also expect some great advice and tips from our knowledgeable staff at our Uniontown location.
"Wildlife in a City Pond" by Storyweaver