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As a pond owner with over 30 years of experience, I’ve seen my fair share of rodents lurking around in and around my pond. Rats are a common problem for garden pond owners, as they are attracted to the shelter and easy access to food that pond owners willingly supply.
In this article, i’ll explore a number of ways to deter rats from your pond, how rats can damage your pond, and most importantly, how to protect your pond from rodent infestations and keep rats away for good!
Why are Rats attracted to Ponds?
Rats are attracted to ponds for a few reasons. Firstly, ponds provide an excellent source of free high quality food. Rats will eat anything from floating pond food to the plants that surround your pond – everything is on the menu. Filter boxes and waterfalls provide shelter, warmth and water, which rats need to survive. This makes ponds the perfect habitat for rats.
To summarise, the reason rats are attracted to your pond include:
- Reliable Food Source
- Water Supply
- Noise – The sound of running water will naturally attract rats
How can Rats Harm Your Pond?
Rats can harm your pond in a number of ways. Firstly, they can damage your pond plants by eating them causing significant damage to the ecosystem of your pond which affects the balance of your water.
Rats can also cause damage to the physical structure of your pond by digging holes under your pond liner, chewing through your pump filter pipes and more worryingly, carry diseases that can be harmful to humans and other animals / pets.
How to deter Rats from Your Pond & Garden
If rats are becoming a problem in and around your garden, I’ve put together a list of changes you can make to your garden which will either deter the rats and prevent them from setting up home near your pond.
Are you feeding your fish too much?
Feeding your fish too much can attract rats to your pond. Rats will quickly learn that there’s a steady supply of food available and they’ll keep coming back for more. To prevent this, reduce the amount of food you’re feeding your fish, and only feed them what they can eat in 10 minutes.
Clean up after your dog
Rats are attracted to the smell of dog mess, so it’s important to keep your lawn and garden clean. Make sure to pick up after your dog and dispose of the dog poo in sealed bags.
Lavender plants have a strong scent that rats quite simply don’t like. By planting lavender around your pond, you can deter rats from coming too close. If you don’t want to use Lavender, there are a few more plants that will act as a natural rat deterrent such as:
- Garlic Bulbs
Garden Waste & Leaves
Old leaves and garden waste can provide rats with a place to hide and nest, more noticeable during the Autumn months when the weather is cooler and leaves are blowing into piles. Make sure to remove any debris from around your pond regularly to prevent rats from taking up residence.
Feeding the Birds
Feeding birds in your garden is something most of us do, however it can also attract rats to your garden and eventually your pond. If you’re feeding birds, it’s important to do it away from your pond and take precautions to prevent rats from accessing the food.
You can either stop feeding the birds completely, or make some of the following changes which will help control your rat problem:
- Use bird feeders that are elevated or suspended from a tree branch
- Use bird feeders that have a tray or catchment area to prevent seeds from spilling on the ground.
- Clean up any spilled seeds or bird droppings regularly
- Avoid feeding birds during the evening or overnight when rats are more active.
Seal Off Rat Friendly Areas
Rats will often nest in areas around your pond, such as filter boxes, or underneath your pond waterfall. Make sure to seal off any areas where rats may be able to get in. If your garden has a fenced perimeter, check for holes underneath your fence plinths and fill – this will be an ongoing battle, but perseverance is key.
Conclusion: Rat-Proof Your Pond
In conclusion, rats can be a serious problem for pond owners, however following the steps above can not only stop rats from coming into your garden, but will prevent them from nesting around your pond.
Having had rats around my pond myself, there is nothing more frustrating that enjoying a nice drink with friends and family, only to see a rat climbing up my pond sides and tucking into pond sticks.
Prevention is key, especially when poison is not really an option.