Help! Raccoons have discovered my new pond

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by cutekelly, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. cutekelly

    cutekelly Member

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    I live in Colorado in the country and near a river. We are surrounded by fir and spruce and my backyard is in the country and is about an acre big. I installed a new pond and have it finally done complete with water plants and fish. I know we have raccoons around here but did not think about them when working on this project. To make it short, most of my 17 gold fish are gone and the rest is petrified, hiding in the middle of the pond under my waterlily planters which I constructed like a bridge with a large flat rock to place the planters on. The fish are seldom coming out and the slightest noise around the pond area will chase them back into hiding. Reading through copious notes about how to deter raccoons, I am deterred to even try anything because nothing much seems to work. I don't like the idea of either shooting or trapping them. If anyone has a suggestion for me that does not cost and arm and a leg to install and knows it works, please let me know. Otherwise, I will have to sadly not put any more fish back into the pond. My pond is 16X10 feet and the dept ranges between 3 and 4 feet. It holds about 1100 gallons of water and I have a waterfall dropping about 12 feet down into the pond.

    Any suggestions are more than welcome with me, Carla
     
  2. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Live traps are not very expensive, and are quite effective against raccoons. Your local fish and wildlife office may even be able to rent them to you, and then transport the critters to where they won't be in anybody's way.
     
  3. tipularia

    tipularia Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    What about getting an outside dog. I was in Ouray last week and took a jeep in the mountains to Silverton. Very nice.
     
  4. cutekelly

    cutekelly Member

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    I live in Ouray, you should have stopped by, lol. It is very nice here and I consider myself very fortunate to life here.

    Carla
     
  5. cutekelly

    cutekelly Member

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    About the outside dog. We live on 8 acres and nothing is fenced in. We have deer and bear around here too and two cats living with us now. I love dogs but it would cause me a huge head ache to keep the dog on the property and train him not to chase deer. That would be a feat. Carla
     
  6. cutekelly

    cutekelly Member

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    thanks for the tip but I don't want to change getting bitten by a trapped raccoon. Taking them some 100 miles away is also going to be something I don't want to have to do every once so often. I know it's going to be a pest getting rid of the pests. Carla
     
  7. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Actually, Kelly, I meant Fish and Game might actually take them away for you, so that you don't have to! I used to live in northern Alberta, Canada (well north of you) and they did this for me with the raccoons and squirrels, right down to renting me the live traps.
     
  8. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Well, here's a solution I recently read about in a garden book. (I think it was the little Ortho book about Japanese gardens.) Somebody with a pond full of beautiful (and presumably expensive) ornamental carp dealt with the raccoon problem by mounting -- in just one corner of the pond -- some kind of metal grate, parallel to the water surface but submerged an inch or so, and partially concealed by water lilies, so that you couldn't really see it unless you were practically on top of it. The fish apparently learned that they could take refuge beneath this grate when danger presented itself.
     
  9. Pasquale

    Pasquale Active Member

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    We have a small ornamental fishpond in the form of a kidney bean, 2 feet deep at the lowest point. For years the racoons eat our gold fish and destroy the water Lilly’s in the process to catch them. (It is quite a spectacle to see the actual hunt) We try everything, including trapping and relocating them; nothing would work, a couple of weeks later another family of racoons would take over the territory, one year so not to give them the satisfaction I didn’t restock with new fish. Well… The mosquito larvae took over by the thousand. Finally I had to cover-it completely with chain links, it doesn’t look right, the racoons are still coming every night, but the problem is solved.
     
  10. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    We wire ponds here with mesh to discourage the Kookaburra (laughing Jackass, bird). They love a good goldfish pond.

    Liz
     
  11. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    One racoon deterent that works well is an electric fence. I put one up around my grape vines every year and the racoons stay away after being zapped a couple of times. Our cats have learned to avoid it as well. The smarter one just jumps over the fence, which is turned on at night by a timer.
     
  12. cutekelly

    cutekelly Member

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    Wow to how many of you have responded with answers. I want to thank each and every one of you for you input from the bottom of my heart. Alas, yesterday evening I discovered something exciting! Kaspian seemed to know the right answer about the metal cage under the water. Well what I discovered was that all of my fish are still there, only one is missing and that was due I guess because it was sick. I ordered the fish online and I am sure some of those fish are not in very good health and the transport stressed them out quite a bit. Well, my pond is deep enough for the raccoons not to want to go into it. It's 3 feet deep and in some places even 4 feet. I have placed my planters for the water lilies in the middle of the pond. I used rocks to build sort of a bridge with a flat rock across it for the planters. The fish are hiding under the planters and are smart enough to take refuge when a raccoon approaches. I think they will be doing well. Only thing is, they are not coming out very often and any noise around the pond makes them go back into hiding. Hopefully sooner or later they will be able to distinguish between me and the raccoon. I feed them not the raccoons. Thanks again and now I know the answer. Make your pond deep enough and wide enough so the critters cant reach the hiding place or your water plants and provide a good hiding place beneath rocks or planters for your fish. They will be save,

    Thanks again to all, Carla
     
  13. lily

    lily Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi cutekelly,
    I am also very impressed with the work you did to design this beautiful pond. "Serenity" it certainly is. Thanks for sharing your video. Excellent work.
     
  14. cutekelly

    cutekelly Member

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    Hello Lily,

    thanks for that compliment. I actually don't use my website to post anything concerning my gardening. I am an artist and carve eggshells. My group of international egg carvers though wanted to see why I am so much away from doing what I usually do and were curious about my work on the pond. It's not finished. But when is gardening ever finished? Never I guess. Right now I am having some questions about the Anachris I ordered and put into the pond. I ordered them online. They were a little olive colored on the tops mainly when they arrived. I hope they are going to recover from the transport. I took half of them and pinched the tops off. The other half I left untouched. I'll how this experiment works out. If you have a tip about taking care of those plants I would surely appreciate it.

    Thanks again, Carla
     
  15. lautenschlagerdl

    lautenschlagerdl Member

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    Thank you, Carla, for the video of your pond!
    I just found and registered today for this website. I, too, am digging a pond. I'm about one third done with the digging by hand, and it's hard work! I also have racoons, so I thought I couldn't have fish until I read your question and the many informative replies. The idea of the underwater screen that doesn't ruin the beauty of the pond is very appealing. I have a baby pool reclaimed from a derelict house nearby that I covered with wire screen laid over crossed bamboo poles and weighed down with rocks. The racoons haven't been able to uncover the pond, but they are in it (on the screen that sags into the water) daily searching for whatever they might eat. A friend from the skagit Valley brought egg masses of native frog species so I could watch them hatch and repopulate the local area. I didn't get frogs this year, and the plastic baby pool is ugly, hidden deep in my garden. But I decided I want a real and beautiful pond so that I can grow water plants. Your video inspired me to continue, even with my sore back! Dale (62 year old woman!)
     
  16. cutekelly

    cutekelly Member

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    Hello Dale,

    thanks for your response. I would like to tell you, we old woman know how to dig, ha? Here are some tips if you like. I made my pond on the shallow and wider end about 3 foot deep and then on the more narrow end it is 4 foot deep. What I have discovered about my fish in the pond and the raccoon problem. First of all, raccoons do not like to get all the way into the water. If they think they are having a hard time to climb back out, they will not go in. The fish are still alive and kicking because I build a rock sanctuary for them to hide beneath right in the middle of the pond. Like bridge beneath the water. Flat rocks on top of the support beams. That is larger rocks to hold the flat rocks on top up. On top of that platform, I put my water lilies. I also learned about the use of anacharis in the pond. A submerged plant that serves more than one purpose. First, it is an excellent oxygenator and if you plant enough of them, you will not have a problem with algae because anacharis needs nitrogen to grow, you pond will stay clear. The fish waste is fertilizer for the plant. Goldfish also love to nibble on this plant and hide beneath it. Not only that, they love this plant laying their eggs into it. You will not have to fool with chemicals to keep your pond water clear using anacharis. 1 plant per 10 gallons of water will do the job well. I have a 1000 gallon pond and put in 100 of those plants. Don't get Koi, they will eat the anacharis the minute you put them into the water and before you can eat your own dinner. Goldfish are great. They can't eat that plant fast enough as Koi will. I have comets and shubinkins and they are all doing well. Only thing is that they do hide well. At first I thought I lost them all because my hiding place works so well. In the 7 weeks since I put those fish into the pond they doubled in size. Now all I have to consider is how to winterize my plants and get a heater for the pond for winter. I live in Colorado and we get a lot of snow here. Hope the fish will survive this winter. I been told that comets and shubunkins are hardy fish. Come spring I will find out.

    If you have any questions for me, let me know. I am happy to answer them for me. As for the raccoons, they quit bothering the pond. I have not seen any tracks of them in a long time. Guess they gave up hoping for a goldfish dinner.

    Carla
     
  17. marcylu

    marcylu Member

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    Just fyi, for any mammals that hang around your home or yard here is a solution that will humanely deter them from coming around.
    Get a large yogurt container, fill it a 1/4 the way with diluted bleach. Put a rag inside.
    Place the lid on and punch holes in the lid. Place one of these every 10 feet around the area where they are coming. The smell irritates the lining of the nasal passages. You have to refresh the solution every 2-3 days, and leave them out for a week to assure the animals get it. Then you can take them away.
    Unfortunately this works for all mammals, including pets. And other wildlife may move in later once the containers are gone, as the territory is empty now. So you would put them out for another week or so.
    Just for your info.
     
  18. cutekelly

    cutekelly Member

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    thanks for this tip. I really appreciate it. Learning new things is something I never cease to do. Wishing you the best, Carla
     

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