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 on farmland due to new buildings and roads.
- Fill new ponds with rainwater to lower the levels of nitrogen and phosphorous that come with tap water. If you have to use tapwater then also add the Chlorine Guard – an eco-friendly liquid treatment of the chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals in tap water.
- Aquatic creatures colonise ponds themselves. It is against the law to move great crested newts and natterjack toads from a habitat and it is advised to leave frog spawn in the pond where it was laid.
- Amphibians return to the pond water to mate and lay eggs after winter hibernation on land in wood piles or under garden buildings.
- 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 with logs and stones to hide under as protection 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. 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.