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This past September strange things started happening in our fish pond, a plastic-lined half whiskey barrel set out in the corner of our deck. At first the water lilies were being destroyed. Large parallel tears started appearing in the pads. I imagined it was a cat striking out at the fish with its bared claws.

Excepting for the destruction of the vegetation I didn’t think the fish stocks were dwindling — but they were indeed. When some old friends stopped coming up at feed time and then some stones off the bottom of the pool were found scattered on the deck I was determined to find out what was causing the loss.

I clamped a compact fluorescent lamp to the back of a garden chair and aimed the reflector at the pond, set my PowerBook on the kitchen table with its iSight camera facing out through our sliding glass door and set up the software to capture time-lapse images every second throughout the night. On the very first night the culprits were revealed in this silent movie …  

What I’d appreciate hearing in comments is how other people protect their small fish ponds from raccoons. I’ve heard of a dark, rigid hexagonal grid that can be mounted below the surface of the water which the fish can swim under to escape — but which would limit the ability of tiny hands from swishing around to catch their prey. But that won’t save the water lilies …


  1. Raccoons have hands, and they are very strong, so most attempts to keep them out of ponds fail – if you can remove a barrier, it is likely that they can as well.

    The best solution is to give the fish a place to hide. You can buy a Koi Kastle ($20 and up) or turn a hurricane shade ($4-6 at any craft store) on its side to give them a refuge. There is an entry on this on my blog, . Once the beasts can’t get at the fish, they will leave the vegetation alone.

  2. Thanks for your comments Bill. Without a long URL nor search on your blog I wasn’t able to find your posted solution — but you have lots of other interesting stuff posted. Thanks for introducing yourself! Harry

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