Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thieving varmints!

Sadly, the troubles in the fishpond are not over yet. The happy dozen goldfish we released last weekend swam prettily among the lilies....but by Tuesday, I couldn't spot more than a handful of fish. Were they hiding? Shy?

Wednesday morning, I noticed the waterlily had been messed up and there were some torn leaves. And no fish in sight. Were they hiding? Or was something wrong?

Although I know that raccoons can prey on goldfish, we have never had troubles in the pond with raccoons before. Our previous fish thrived for 3 years without being eaten. There seemed to be enough hiding places for them among the stones and plant pots. But back then, we had dogs, which may have kept raccoons away.

Were raccoons eating our fish?

I had to find out whether it my speculations were true, so before nightfall, I grabbed a tin of talcum powder from the bathroom and sprinkled it along the wooden edging of the pond.

This morning - Yep, raccoons. Bastards!

Probably a couple of them. Unless there are some very smart survivors hiding, they've eaten all the goldfish. I think - I hope - the small drab mosquito fish have eluded them.

I'm traveling this weekend, and can't deal with it till I get back. I think I need to sink some blocks or other things that work as hiding places for the fish. I've also read about submerging gratings about 1" beneath the water's surface.

Have any of you dealt with thieving varmint raccoons successfully? Got any ideas I can try before I buy some more goldfish?

POND UPDATE: I came home and when I looked at the pond I spotted four fish still alive! Three goldfish and one dark one. So I gathered some rocks and some fragments of stone tiles from the basement, and built a kind of labyrinthine structure for them. Maybe that will help protect them while I'm out of town.


KathyR said...

Oh, no! Sushi bar for raccoons!

KBeau said...

So sorry about the fish. My sister looked out her window one day and a great blue heron was munching on one of her koi. She ordered a fake blue heron to put in her pond. They seem to be territorial. Only one to a pond.

Gilly said...

Problem here is herons. They can spot a goldfish at 100 yds! I've seen fake herons, don't know if it would work with a fake racoon!!

Fish do need shelters, we sank an old strawberry pot upside down in the water, with a big stone on top to keep it down. The frogs enjoy sitting on the stone!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

We are having shared fish troubles this week, are we not?

The talcum powder? Tres brilliant!

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

But racoons are so cute@!

cactus petunia said...

Making the pond's sides very steep, and adding lots of rocks for the fish to hide under, or even a ledge or two that the critters can't reach under might help. I was just at the Portland Japanese garden last week and noticed all those details...they must work, because they have a bunch of very large, very happy koi!

Fifi Flowers said...

How sad!

Anonymous said...

When we lived in Lacey/Olympia, the raccoons were a terrible problem. We didn't even have fish in our pond, but they came to play anyway, knocking over the fountain and ripping the liner of the pond.

My neighbor had a goodly amount of water plants (potted) sunk into her pond. Her goldfish did very well. (We did find her jar of goldfish food under our car one day, compliments of the raccoons, but at least they hadn't found her fish!)

Anonymous said...