Trying to keep predators and pests out of your pond or pool can seem like an impossible task. It can be time consuming, frustrating, and the damage they cause can be costly and messy. With an alligator decoy you’ll be able to use their instincts against them in a way that’s fun, safe, and effective.
Your Very Own Gator Guard On Duty
The alligator is at the top of the food chain which makes a decoy gator the perfect choice for scaring away unwanted animal guests. Luckily, the fear of gators is instinctual and not based on actually having encountered them before. So even if you live in a state or region where there are no alligators the local wildlife will respond by keeping away.
And because they are simply a deterrent there is no harm done to the animals. Decoys are typically made from plastic, foam, or resin so that they can float and handle being left outdoors in the water year-round. They are also painted to look very realistic and some will even fool your friends.
What Animals Can They Keep Away?
Decoys are well-known for deterring many different backyard predators and pests. They can be used to keep away animals such as:
There are a wide range of different bird species which love to eat fish. Unfortunately expensive Koi, goldfish, and other aquatic pets are often easy targets especially when they are in confined spaces. By adding a decoy you will make sure there are no more free fish dinners.
Herons, cranes, egrets, cormorants, eagles, hawks, owls, and king fishers among many others will all quickly learn to keep clear of your property. Typically they won’t even land and if they do it will only be until they spot your gator lurking in the water.
Ducks And Geese
While these won’t eat your fish they can be very loud and make a huge mess wherever they land. And yes, that means a lot of poop which will end up in your yard, pond, pool, or on your deck or dock. Fortunately alligator decoys scare ducks and geese so you can save your voice and won’t have to worry about cleaning up after them anymore.
Easily one of the most destructive of all pests, raccoons can also carry a host of parasites some of which that can be passed on to humans. They will they eat just about every form of life in your pond from the plants all the way up to the fish. Raccoons like to clean their food in the water.
So if they’ve raided your trash cans don’t be surprised if they decide to rinse off the garbage in your pool first before they eat it. Since they prefer to poop in the water as well they will also use your pool or pond as their own personal toilet. But because they are afraid of large predatory reptiles with an alligator decoy raccoons will quickly find a new place to chow down and do their business.
Other Pests And Pets
Decoys may sometimes keep other types of animals away from the surrounding area too. Prey animals such as groundhogs and squirrels can be quite wary once they believe there’s an alligator around. And some cats and dogs, but definitely not all, will also keep their distance. Deer on the other hand aren’t typically afraid of alligator decoys which is something many property owners like.
Best Places To Use Your Decoy
You can use a decoy in just about any body of water that you would like to keep pests and predators out of and away from. They are ideal for ponds of all sizes and types whether in the garden, on a fish farm, or at the golf course.
For both swimming pools and hot tubs they are a popular choice and will also help to keep animals away from your deck and the surrounding area. If your property borders a lake, river, or canal you can use one there too. Placing a decoy in close proximity to a private dock is also a smart choice to keep it from becoming a hangout and poop station for waterfowl.
Not Your Average Décor
One of the best features of decoys is that they are always a fun conversation piece. In fact realistic alligator decoys are often purchased simply to use as a unique piece of pond décor. Some consumers even choose to use them in their garden as well.
Having your very own gator that is also totally safe to be around, can give you the chance to have some harmless fun scaring unsuspecting, friends, guests, and gardeners. If you’ve decided to transform your pool or pond into a swampy lagoon for Halloween an alligator decoys is also a very popular choice to use as your resident swamp beast.
Different Types Of Decoys
There are a few different varieties to pick from and what you choose will really depend on what you like.
A Head Can Do The Trick
When a gator is in the water and motionless or moving slowly, all that is visible is usually its head. Because of this fact you don’t actually need a life size alligator decoy just a heat will do. When animals see a head they assume the rest of the body is underwater.
Heads can range in size and some can give the appearance of being quite a big gator. And since there is no body to go along with it, you can get the look of having a large gator even if you only have a small space. Alligator decoy heads are designed to move around for extra realism.
There isn’t a motor instead they float freely around and are moved by the breeze, current, pond filter, water fall, etc. They will however come with a screw eye underneath so that they can be anchored to something. (Check out the section below for anchoring tips.)
For an extra bit of fun some people like to mount their head on top of an r/c boat. With your DIY remote control alligator decoy you can actively chase waterfowl away or give friends a good fright.
Partial Body Decoys Add Realistic Movement
For a more realistic swimming action, a floating alligator decoy that has a head, midsection, and tail is another way to go. When real a gator is swimming these are the three parts you will usually see above the water. So with this type it really seems as if there is a whole body below the surface.
The parts are all connected by a chain so that the midsection and tail follow the head. This also allows each part to move independently which adds an extra touch to help fool sharp-eyed critters.
Like with a head decoy, these can be allowed to float about or can be anchored down. By anchoring them in an area with moving water you will get the full effect of the tail and midsection moving to create the appearance that it’s swimming on its own.
Whole Body Decoys Make Things Obvious
A full bodied gator is also a choice. These are made so that the entire body floats above the water and is completely visible. This is of course lets animals know at first glance or when flying over it from above what type of beast they are looking at.
While some models may be one single piece others are made up of multiple sections attached by a chain to help add a more lifelike appearance in the water. Even though they do show the whole body this variety isn’t typically life size.
They will be at least a few feet in length though. Because smaller ponds may not have the space to handle a medium or large floating alligator decoy without looking too cramped these are usually placed in swimming pools or bigger size ponds and left to float. Unlike decoys that only show parts of the body these are designed so that they can also be used on land.
Features To Consider
Some decoys include features to help them look more menacing and real to other animals. That’s why you will see some models with their mouths wide open showing all of their teeth.
However there’s no proof that this will actually spook them anymore than an alligator closed mouth decoy since gator’s teeth are still clearly visible even when closed. Some models may also include battery powered eyes that glow red which are meant to mimic the red eye shine of real gators in low light conditions.
Others may have reflective red eyes or eyes that have been painted red. A lot of people find these to look realistic while other consumers feel that black eyes look more natural. It’s really a matter of personal choice.
Stick With A Gator Or Go With A Croc
When shopping you may notice that while the majority of decoys are designed to look like the American alligator some are actually modeled after crocs. Crocodile decoys come in the same varieties and with the same features but there may be small differences in the coloration and looks. For example gators will have more rounded teeth.
Really what you choose is a matter of preference since animals can’t tell them apart and are just as scared of both. Many people don’t realize that there are actually crocodiles in the United States as well. Although unlike the alligator the American crocodile is only found in certain areas of southern Florida and has a very limited population.
Statues Can Work Too
If you are a true fan of alligators and crocodiles you might prefer an actual alligator statue. You can often get away with using one as a deterrent to predators and pests even though that’s not its intended function.
While they aren’t normally made to float in the water and will usually cost more than a decoy they can look very realistic. By placing one in the yard or on the deck near the edge of a pond, pool, or body of water you may be able to fool critters into thinking it’s sunning itself, relaxing, or waiting for prey to come its way.
You should choose a statue that’s real-looking, shows the full body, and at least medium to large in size for the best chances of working. If your statue does not end up getting the job done at least you’ll end up with a unique piece of alligator garden art that’s sure to get a lot attention from your human guests.
Tips For Anchoring Your Gator
If you have an alligator head decoy or partial body model you may want to anchor it. This can be very important if you are placing it somewhere that it could be swept away or even lost. Anchoring your gator will keep it confined to a specific area and if you have moving water it will still allow the decoy to move around but just in a confined space.
Most people will use a length of fishing line which is attached to the screw eye on the gator at one end and something that’s heavy enough to keep it in place on the other. You could use a rock, brick, fishing sinker, ceramic mug, or a couple of washers as an anchor.
Usually you’ll want to cut your fishing line so that it is a bit longer than actual depth of where you will be using it that way it has some space to, “swim around.” A trick you could also use is to actually attach it to your automatic pool cleaner which will have it moving all over your pool. By anchoring your decoy close to filters or other underwater items it can also serve as a marker which can be a big help too.
Luckily decoys are very easy to fix if they become damaged for any reason. If yours’ begins to sink all you’ll usually need to do is seal up any cracks or seams with a marine caulk.
For a gator decoy that has started to lose its youthful looks a fresh coat of acrylic paint will have him looking like new in no time. You may also want to change the eye color with a little paint if you purchased one with red eyes and end up preferring black or vice versa.
A Gator Gang For Bigger Spaces And Extra Protection
If you have a larger size body of water you will most likely want to use multiple decoys. But just be sure to spread them out. And when you have several different areas you need to keep protected such as a hot tub and pool for example placing one in each will do a much better job.
Of course you can always add a couple in smaller spaces for extra emphasis as well. A handful of floating alligator decoys will look like a gator pit and be sure to be avoided. You might even want to use different types together.
Other Decoys For Dealing With Bold Creatures
While gator decoys are effective the vast majority of the time, every once in a while you may encounter animals that may seem to be extra brave or totally missing some of their necessary survival instincts. When this is the case you can always add other types of decoys in addition to your alligator.
Floating swan decoys for example are very helpful for keeping geese and ducks away since they know swans are so territorial. Herons too are very territorial especially with other members of their species. So a heron decoy will actually help keep other herons away.
A coyote or fox decoy will not just work for birds but also deter raccoons and other small animals. And don’t over look inflatable snakes which can be used on land or to float in the water and keep your gator company. They are very effective for birds of all types particularly ones which love to use decks as their toilets.
With your alligator decoy keeping watch for you around the clock you won’t have to worry about any missing fish, cleaning up any messes, or dealing with any damage. Your gator will have an important job so don’t forget to give him a name and treat him right.
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