PREDATORS:

 

The raccoon is a nocturnal mammal.  It is unusual because of its “opposable thumb”.  It is an omnivore with a reputation for being clever and mischievous.  The raccoon will destroy a pond as it removes fish, snails, frogs and plants.  Keeping raccoons from your pond can prove challenging.  Some fish saving tips include:  do not have shallow ledges around the pond (raccoons do not like to swim and shallow ledges give them access to the pond); cover the pond with netting at night; and build fish caves at the bottom of the pond.

 

The great blue heron has blue-grey wings and back, and a white head with a black cap and a long black plume.  It has a long neck, streaked with white, rust-brown, and black, and a short tail.  The beak is long and yellow and tapers to a point.  Legs are long, and greenish-yellow.  The blue heron is a wading bird.  It will only access shallow ponds.  It is a stealthy hunter going after fish and frogs.  Keeping the blue heron out of the pond can be difficult.  Some fish saving tips include:  make the pond deep (herons are waders and will not wade into deep water); criss-cross the pond with clear fishing line; cover the pond with netting; use an alligator decoy (see page 51); and build fish caves at the bottom of the pond.

 

The mink (Mustela vison) is a member of the weasel family.  It can be found in streams, lakes, and ponds.  A mink has a thick, soft lustrous coat that varies from dark brown to black; oily guard hairs giving fur a glossy appearance; pale underside; white patch on lower lip; short legs; long neck and body; partially webbed feet; pointed face and small ears.  A mink is a solitary, nocturnal animal that usually hunts at dawn and dusk   It is primarily carnivorous eating small mammals, rodents, frogs, fish, crayfish, birds, and eggs.  A mink will willingly swim under water, and can dive to depths of 15ft to 18ft.  Detecting and deterring mink is very difficult.  Some solutions include:  dyeing the water black; covering the pond with wire mesh; and finally trapping.  Trapping may not be what you want to do or would prefer to do but it WILL work.  Bait a raccoon trap with fish and place it right beside the pond...and wait!

 

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