Whats Eating Your Pond Liners? 5 Creatures that May be to Blame

Posted by CanopiesAnd Tarps on Jun 25th 2014

For the most part, ponds make beautiful, constructive additions to a property. However, there are times when homeowners may find that their best-laid plans run afoul thanks to Mother Nature. Thats because ponds attract more than just humans and livestock looking to cool off. They also attract wildlife that would like nothing more than to chew on the pond liners keeping your pond from emptying. So what can you do for your pond tarp or pond lining? Each animal has a unique reason for chewing on your liners and a unique way of dealing with them. Here's a look at five such critters and what you can do to quell their appetites:

1.) Gophers: One of the gnawers-in-chiefs to look out for are gophers. They often burrow underneath ponds and chew through pond liners in a New York minute. In addition, they can cause serious pond erosion, which is its own unique problem that can make you want to give up completely. To keep them at bay, one of your best options is to use gopher wire. Yes, they are such voracious pests that companies actually produce first-rate, super-strong wire to stop the creatures' teeth in mid-bite. Gopher wire works by creating a barrier between the bottom of your pond and the earth below it. The difficulty regarding gopher wire is that you have to install it properly, or a professional must install it - which can require draining your pond and digging up the earth surrounding it. If not installed correctly, these crafty creatures will just find a way to work around it.

2.) Muskrats: Right behind gophers in their pond liner destruction capabilities are muskrats. These creatures feed on pond vegetation, shellfish, amphibians and small reptiles attracted to the water. As a result, they tend to put down roots within 150-feet of a homeowner's pond. They are particularly drawn to areas that offer some form of cover, steep earthen embankments and immediate access to deep water. To control them, consider building 3:1 side slopes complete with riprap and keeping the surrounding vegetation to a minimum. Floating dock barriers, predator urine markings and live traps may also help. You might also want to consider cutting down on or eliminating their favorite food sources. Favored food sources include cattails, water lilies, ferns, bulrush and pondweed.

3.) Chipmunks: Don't let their cute appearance fool you. Despite their small, precious appearances, chipmunks can really destroy pond liners. What typically draws them to the water's edge is the promise of insects. They love to eat them along with their other dietary staples. The pond liner damage comes from their incessant chewing and burrowing in the area surrounding the liners. While chipmunks may not seek to destroy your pond liners directly, their indirect actions will cause damage that can require a complete replacement. To thwart their attempts at making your pond their beloved dining spot, think about setting live traps and using hardware cloth to seal tempting, embankment openings. Keeping the sides of your pond free of wood and brush piles may also help.

4.) Rats: On the not-so-cuddly side of pests are water and terrestrial-dwelling rats. While hunting for small fish and natural grains, they'll happily chomp on pond liners too. Thwarting their efforts typically calls for chicken wire, roofing felt, live traps and heavy-gauge hardware cloth. However, in extreme situations you may need to bring out the big guns like galvanized sheet metal and concrete to block their preferred den sites. Discussing your options with a pest control expert can lead you to the best choice for your pond.

5.) Waterfowl: Okay, so we all know that waterfowl don't chew. But they will puncture holes in pond liners and attract other undesirables (e.g. gators). As a result, we've added them to our list as well. While waterfowl may seem innocent enough, if left unchecked they can cause serious damage to pond liners requiring a full replacement. Ways to keep waterfowl from turning your pond liner into Swiss cheese include using decoys, netting and landscaping that makes the ponds embankment less appealing to feather-clad snackers.

Of course, you can't always prevent the destruction of your pond liners. There are many other animals that can cause slow erosion to the quality of your pond lining, most of which you can't prepare for as easily as others. To ensure that your pond liners are always up to quality, be sure to have a retail source for liners, heavy-duty tarps and other accessories. At Canopies and Tarps, you'll find pond liners for all shapes and sizes of pond.

To learn more about pond liners and how to protect them from the local wildlife, please contact us. We offer customers access to first-rate pond liners resistant to punctures, tears and everyday wildlife damage.