Wildlife ponds support a huge range of creatures:
- invertebrates – dragon and damselflies, pond skaters, water boatmen, water beetles and pond snails
- amphibians – frogs, toads and newts
It is accepted that the UK’s freshwater ponds are one of our most important and overlooked wildlife refuges. Our garden ponds give places of safety for aquatic species to breed and thrive.
We should all create as many bodies of freshwater in our gardens as we can.
More garden ponds are needed to replace the numerous bodies of water lost to wildlife in farmland areas and due to building projects in the countryside.
- Fill these new ponds with rainwater to lower the levels of nitrogen and phosphorous that can come with tap water. If you have to use tapwater to start a pond or container pond then also add the Chlorine Guard which is an eco-friendly liquid treatment of the chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals in tap water.
- Aquatic creatures will colonise a pond themselves. It is against the law to move great crested newts and natterjack toads from their chosen habitat and it is advised to leave frog spawn in the pond where it was laid.
- Fish and amphibians do not thrive in the same pond. Fish will eat the young tadpoles and newt larva.
- The froglets, toadlets and newt efts leave the pond using a shallow slope or by climbing on planted baskets and benefit from an area around the pond that is well planted with bog or moist plants and that has logs and stones to hide under giving them cover from predators.
- Predators include garden birds such as blackbirds that come to the pond to drink and bathe. Water in the garden will increase the number of birds that visit you as well as the number of aquatic creatures.
- Dragonfly and damselfly will breed in ponds. Their larvae live in shallow, sheltered water for some years and need submerged plants as cover. They will eat other insects, fish fry and tadpoles and need taller emergent pond plants to crawl up and out of the water so they can become adults.
Download the ARG Amphibian Identification Guide to help you check what wildlife visitors you have in your ponds this year.