||It seems inevitable that if you have a pond with water plants and fish, not only will you and your friends
enjoy it, a raccoon or two (or three or five) will find it enjoyable also. Being the inquisitive omnivorous
creatures they are, they will explore any nook and cranny they can comfortably reach. Not really liking to
put their faces under water while searching for succulent edibles, these fellows avoid deep areas and
steep walled ponds, but supply them with a shallow area and they will wreak havoc on many plants and
muddy the water in their search for pond snails, tadpoles, fish and insect larvae.
Short of camping out at the pond with a broom or other deterrent instrument, not much has been
available to the pond owner to dissuade these critters without detracting from the pools aesthetics. Pond
covers, impenetrable fencing, and electric fences rarely blend in harmoniously with any water garden.
At San Marcos Growers we are experimenting with a method of deterring the raccoons
and other pesky nocturnal wildlife without detracting from the ponds beauty. It is based on startling the
animal, and making it uncomfortable for the animal to be near the pond. You might want to try it - the
idea is open to many variations and ingenuity.
The system is based on three components: a motion detector, a voltage transformer or electronic
sprinkler controller, and a sprinkler. Standard electrical power and typical household water are required
for sources of energy. The motion detector is connected to the automatic sprinkler controller so that
when motion is detected near the pond, floodlights come on and sprinklers are activated near the ponds
edge for a short period of time. Any animal detected near the ponds boundary will thus be startled and
showered by a flood of light and pressurized water. Weve been experimenting with this technique on a
very vulnerable part of the water garden, and so far it seems to be working.