One of the most rewarding benefits of having a pond on your property is the wildlife it can attract. Pond management plays a significant role when creating a wildlife habitat.
The Basic Pond
A wildlife pond does not have to be big, but should be at least a foot and no more than three feet deep with a flat shelf around the perimeter and slightly sloping toward the center. This allows for easy access in and out of the water. A log or board can be placed leading out of the water for small creatures, such as hedgehogs, that cannot swim.
If you’re building the pond from scratch, select a slightly shady area that gets plenty of sunshine and has no overhanging trees. Ideally, the pond should be filled with rain water.
Introducing Plant Life
Choose plants that are native to the area. Long grasses work well along the edges of the pond. Dense vegetation offers food sources and provides protection from predators for pond visitors. Water lilies provide a rest area for frogs. Other good varieties include brooklime, reeds, watercress, and water forget-me-nots. These are all ideal for attracting newts. You might also consider placing stones, log piles, and pieces of timber around the pond for added protection.
Once your pond is set up, you’ll begin to see wildlife flocking to it. Birds will visit to bathe and drink. Bees drink from the water, too. Frogs and newts come to breed and tadpoles feed on the algae. Dragonflies also breed in ponds. Hedgehogs come to drink and hunt for food. They also bathe themselves in the shallow area around the pond’s edge. Water invertebrates such as water boatmen, pond skaters, and water snails feed on algae and plant debris.
A natural pond is an amazing ecosystem that you can easily create in your backyard. And by doing so, you provide a habitat for wildlife to thrive and take pleasure in watching it evolve.