How Deep to Prevent Raccoon/Critters?

sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)March 7, 2014

Hi I am planning a pond. I have heard that it needs to be at least 4 ft deep to prevent raccoon from getting the fish. I have also heard they will just swim and get them anyways...

Anyone have a lot of critter problems with their ponds?
We have a lot of raccoon here and they have chewed through my chicken coop roofs twice (1/2 inch plywood and roll roofing) so had to change to tin roofing. Sooo they would definitely be going after the fish too.
We live by a river so they will always be around.
What is the best way to create a problem free pond besides screening it in?

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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

There are YouTube videos of raccoons swimming out and catching fish. IMO it certainly possible, but also unlikely. Raccoons just don't have the tools to be very good at it.

If they see a fish swimming at the surface within say 5' of shore I'd bet many would take a flying leap at it no matter how deep. Why not? But I'd give the advantage to the fish.

Herons do have the tools and will clean out a pond. Otters too. They don't care how deep the pond is.

Raccoon damage is normally knocked over plants. Not having shelves fixes that. I prefer soil or gravel beds instead.

Once I switched to beds I never had raccoon damage again to plants.

If a fish came over looking for food and was on the shelf with the raccoon then the fish would be in real danger because grabbing critters in shallow water is how a raccoon earns its living.

I would say when water starts getting deeper than 12" a raccoon starts having problems with maybe 3' being about the max a raccoon would have a reasonable chance.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 2:34PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

I setup my first pond in 1981. Raccoons, possums, dogs, cats, kids, turtles toads snails have all been problems over the years . Runaway most serious has been water birds particularly herons When i first started I couldn't keep GF for a week . Switched to tropical fish which did fine until the polar vortex of 09 so switched back to GF and have not had a single problem..Why I don't know ,guess the herons are dining in better locations ?? lol I'm down to one pool above ground 5x10 feet around 2 feet deep Have had less problems with the above ground One problem that I've been unable to solve is Cane toads . i don't think a deep pool would help as the fish are always at the surface any way
What kind of fish and plant are you thinking??

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 5:34PM
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We had the raccoons clean us out of koi lots of times, and tear up the ponds then I put out one of those ultrasonic motion sensors.. I think it was a Cat Scat? Did it about 3 years ago and I have only lost one to the raccoon and that was cause I didn't replace the battery. It doesn't seem to faze my cats (lol). I put it across the pond pointed down towards the waters edge cause the raccoons work there way under the ultrasonic range if you just put it straight up. I have a shelf about 6 inches under water and 3 feet deep on one pond and the other is about 2 feet deep.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 3:14AM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

Hi thanks for all the responses :) I haven't decided where I should put the pond yet. We have a natural spring under one part of the property that stays wet most of the summer. In drier seasons it will dry out. There are a ton of large hardwood trees out there so lots of leaf litter and roots to deal with so I am not sure that is where it will go. I am thinking it might be better just to get a liner and put it in a more open area.

waterbug_guy, I am not sure if I will have plant shelves or not. I appreciate your illustration. That is helpful!
I was thinking of mostly planting around the outside and then having some sunken water lilies and some other plants that are out towards the center more away from where the raccoon can get in and knock over the pots. I have a few books on water gardens and saw they had the pots submerged underwater on 'pillars' of concrete block etc.

Gary, Your place sounds like ours in relation to critters lol. I haven't seen any herons here but we do get the occasional large egret and both bald and golden eagles. However I suspect that if I build it...they will come (herons) lol.
I have quite a few plants that could work in or around water right now. Various colocasias, tropical waterlilies, canna, papyrus, lizard tail. I have found that chocolate mint does excellent grown in a bog and doesn't freeze in the winter or die back during the heat of the summer. I grow a lot of mint for our rabbits that I use their 'bunny berries' for composting and vermicomposting.
As far as fish goes. I really love the look of koi but due to the critters and my last koi liking to eat up all my plants, I might go with plain old goldfish. I have heard that the goldfish won't eat up the plants as much. I will just have to find pretty ones LOL :P

I had 4 koi that I kept in a large preformed pond. One is still there. It is all black. When we moved here a few yrs ago, I had to put them in a holding pool while I got the other one set up on the screened patio. Overnight, a raccoon ate up all the koi except the black one which I assume maybe he couldn't see. I will probably just keep him where he is and get him a friend. When I get the in ground pond going, I am thinking of using goldfish. Do your koi eat your water plants at all?
That is a good idea about the motion sensor. Haha I am surprised that it doesn't bother the cats but then again they are probably smart enough to avoid where it sprays. Does it also help with keeping the large birds away?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 1:29PM
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Mine doesn't spray its just a ultrasonic sound and a light comes on. And my bigger koi 18-28 inches eat anything and everything that's in the pond.. made shelves about 6 inches underwater and planted cattails, iris directly into pea gravel and they don't bother them but if its a floating plant or hangs over they will eat it up. my smaller koi don't bother any of the plants in my other pond.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 1:30AM
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