Sunday, January 20, 2008

Raccoon eyes in my garden

We have had many visitors at our KoiGarden. In addition to a industrious band of Squirrels and an occasional Heron, we have had an eagle come by and investigate the pond. But perhaps the most interesting visitor we have had in the KoiGarden was a mysterious Raccoon. This visitor is not easy to see, visiting in the early hours of the day. In fact, it took us a long time to be certain that we had gotten on his circuit.

At the time we found many shredded Lily pads and nervous fish. The Raccoons also delighted in ripping the netting we had over the pond. But there was no permanent damage. Like humans Raccoons don’t like to bellyflop into water, so your first action in the fight against the goggle-eyed marauders is to have sharp edges to your pond. Also placing a net over the pond is a fairly good deterrent. But this is not perfect, as in our case. The flexible netting is the most transparent, but also the easiest to get around, as in the case of our wily visitor. Raccoons have quite sharp teeth and can make easy handy work with the light netting. Even if they do get into your pond, giving the fish a hiding place at the bottom will be quite helpful. A series of cement pipe sections can serve the need quite well, depending on the size of your fish.

After finding the netting ripped many mornings, we built a pond cover composed of metal netting and a wood frame for easy movement and structural integrity. And that was how we finally saw our four legged bandit of the wilderness world. Actually, we heard him at first. Shaking a large metal screen at 4 in the morning is not too quiet. But despite all his efforts, he was not able to get into the pond. By sneaking out to investigate, we finally saw our menace and his failure to get around our latest defenses. In the spring, Raccoons spend most of their food finding efforts finding following a circuit. Once their food searching circuit is set, they will keep it for a while. So we have been lucky in using the metal screen in the winter and early in the spring. Then we can remove the screen and enjoy easier visibility and access to our water friends.


Norma said...

Mike, Interesting! and great pix.

Liam Scanlan said...

Very nice shots, Mike.
To protect your fish, have you taken a look at this product:

Best regards.