I've heard that placing an alligator decoy in a pond will deter herons from visiting stopping by to eat all the expensive koi that live in it.

This made me curious, because I live in a northern state where alligators don't exist, would a decoy still be effective in deterring herons? Presumably herons migrate south during the winter, and should be aware of the threat that alligators pose, but would they recognize that alligators don't live this far north and ignore the decoy?


2 Answers 2


Yes it will work but,yes there is a but it will not work in the long run herons learn over time so you can not be sure of the effect over time.

You might try an motion activated sprinkler one bonus with this is it works on more types of predators.

You might try to put up one of the fence solutions used around flowerbeds close to your pond to make it harder for the herons to reach the water.

  • Yes; I worked on a site with a 40 acre lake and thousands of Canadian Geese , IL.They wanted to discourage so many geese and put out an inflated alligator with an anchor to keep it in the middle. The geese stayed 200 ft from the float . After several days , seagulls landed on the 'gator , after that the geese ignored it. May 14, 2019 at 16:31
  • On a large fish farm in TX, they found a shotgun ( fired straight up) was the best way to keep herons away. When that worked , they put in a few propane "cannons" set to fire automatically on some time interval. May 14, 2019 at 16:36
  • @blacksmith37 i am not sure the negbours will be impressed if the op starts to fire a cannon at random times during the day :) May 14, 2019 at 19:12
  • It probable woks better in TX on a large acreage. May 15, 2019 at 20:19
  • I expect they will also get accustomed to sprinklers; My wife got a video of two deer fawns playing in our sprinkler, then the mother joins them. May 15, 2019 at 20:22

We live in the Northeastern U.S. and there are no alligators in our state or any of the surrounding states. Our fake alligator works great. We originally used it for raccoons which were eating the koi from our pond, but it also has worked for herons and geese as well. While I'm sure that some herons and geese may have had an encounter with a real gator when migrating down south, the raccoons definitely have never seen one, so I'm assuming that the reason they stay away comes down to instinct.

Also, unlike other types of decoys which stand still on the land, gator decoys float so they move with the flow of the water or when the wind blows. The movement scares the critters and makes sure they never get used to it.

Here's a helpful article: The Complete Alligator Decoy Guide

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