No matter what the body of water is in any place of the world, one thing they always do is attract various life forms. From microscopic bacteria to humongous elephants, water bodies are a place that draws all organisms. A backyard pond is not any exception to this either. But not all animals are beneficial for the pond.
Due to the abundance of food around a backyard pond, they attract rodents like rats and mice. But instead of contributing to the pond ecosystem, they make a mess out of everything and create a very big problem for the pond owners.
Let’s take a look at why do backyard ponds attract rodents and how you can prevent them from destroying the pond environment.
Why do backyard ponds attract rodents?
If there is anything most people know about rats and mice, it is that they are a nuisance. They destroy everything they come in contact with. Your garden pond is not out of their reach either. There are a few reasons that your pond may be attracting rodents.
When fish are fed fish food, sometimes people put excess food in the pond. These leftovers float on the water. Rodents are attracted to this leftover food. The fact that the food is in water makes no difference to them, as both rats and mice are excellent swimmers. They get into the water and feast on the food.
Also, sometimes pond owners keep their fish food in a bucket on the bank of the pond, so that they won’t need to carry it every time. This means an all-you-can-eat buffet for the rats as they don’t have to do anything to gain this food.
Birds and eggs
Many different kinds of birds make their nests around a pond. They build nests on the trees around the pond, some even choose the muddy banks as their nest sites. Rats hunt the helpless baby birds and the unprotected eggs in their nests. Sometimes even baby ducks have been seen being hunted by large rats.
As we have learned earlier, rats are excellent swimmers. Sometimes they will even dare to attack the fish in your pond in search of food. Slow fish like koi or small fish such as minnows are their prime targets. Once they get accustomed to hunting fish, the fish population in your pond will go down drastically.
How do rodents affect your pond?
Rats and mice are termed pests and for good reason. They mess up the pond and everything related to it.
Once they have found out that your pond is a good source of food, rats will try every possible way to get into it. Even the bottom is not safe from them.
First, they will reach your pond by burrowing it into the ground. Once they reach the pond, they will chew through the pond liner to enter the pond. After the pond liner inevitably gets damaged, the water will start to leak out. If you notice the water level of your pond dropping suddenly, chances are that the pond has been attacked by rats.
Ruining the water
Rats will not stop at draining the water from your pond only. They will also ruin them by urinating while they are at it. Thus urine is a source of irritation for the fish and can be a cause of various diseases.
Eating Fish Food
Rats and mice usually attack a pond due to the abundance of fish food. If they get a hold of your fish food stack, they will not stop until every ounce of fish food is eaten by them. This will make you buy fish food much more frequently than you had originally wanted to.
Destroying the environment
Not only the pond, but rats will destroy the surrounding environment as well. They hunt birds, their babies, and eggs, which if goes on uninterrupted, will lead the birds leaving your garden. As birds are essential to any environment, your garden will suffer from their absence.
Also, they will destroy the plants in your garden. Especially if you have fruits and vegetables in your garden that these rodents can reach, they are as good as gone.
It’s not your pond that will be affected by you only. You are also at risk along with your family. They spread Weil’s disease, which is a kind of flu. Usually, this isn’t that big of a deal, but in the current circumstances with the pandemic and everything, the last thing you want is to contract flu-like diseases.
How to prevent rats from ruining your pond
Now that we have learned how rats enter our pond and make our lives miserable, it is time to look at some preventive measures. Implementation of these will make our lives a lot easier.
Restricting access to food
As fish food is the primary reason for the rodents to attack the pond, take measures so that they can’t get access to them. First, properly calculate how much food you have to feed your fish at a time. Don’t put any excess amount of food in your pond. Second, don’t keep your fish food lying around in the open near the pond.
Sometimes you may have bird feeders in your gardens. Rats are attracted to them as well. Put your bird feeders as much away from the pond as possible.
Fortifying the pond
Next, make sure that the rats can not even go anywhere near the pond. For this, you need to fortify your pond. Build your pond with bricks and on a raised plane so that the rats can not enter the pond easily.
Also, make sure that there is no part of the pond liner that is exposed. To ensure that the rats don’t enter the pond from the bottom, put cement on top of the liner instead of installing them on the ground.
If there is anything we have learned from shows like Tom and Jerry, cats and rats hate each other, and rats and mice are the favorite food of cats. So having one or more cats will mean that fewer rodents will even think about entering your pond and you will be able to sleep peacefully at night.
Using Mouse Traps
Mousetraps are another great way to prevent rats from messing up your pond. Have a few mouse traps lying around along all four sides of the pond’s bank. Make sure to leave attractive baits on them, and you will get rid of most rodents in a matter of days.
Having a selection of plants around the pond
There are few plants that act as rodent deterrents. Plant these along the side of the pond, and you will have to worry less about any problems regarding rodents. They are :
- Grape hyacinth
- Black Pepper
Should you use rat poisons?
It is very tempting to use rat poisons to eradicate the rodent problem. Although this method may prove to be effective in most cases, it is an absolutely no no to use around your pond. Because rat poison can enter your pond by being washed away by rain. Once it enters and mixes with the pond water, you can say goodbye to the fish in your pond.
It can also seep into the soil of the garden, making it infertile. Also, the subterranean layer of water will be affected by rat poison.
People have to work hard to build a pond according to their liking and take care of it along with the fish in it. Then there comes the hassle of maintenance of the surrounding environment as well. The last thing any pond owner wants is to worry about pests like rats and mice attacking their ponds.
So now that we know why backyard ponds attract rodents and what effect they have on the entire environment, it is time to make sure that you don’t have to lose sleep over them. So take preventive measures and protect your pond.