Five aquatic carnivores to rival Jaws

Five aquatic carnivores to rival Jaws

Jack Perks

These pond predators don't mess about!

Life in a pond is far less tranquil than it may seem, even on the surface lurk blood-thirsty predators just waiting for their prey’s first mistake. The classic two-tone symphony starts to play as we cautiously approach the murky water’s edge…

Pond skater

Luke Massey/2020VISION

Pond skater

Careful not to fall in, that’s exactly what the pond skater wants you to do.

With three pairs of water-repellent feet constantly monitoring the water’s surface, if you fall in (and you happen to be a small insect) it’s game over. Any nearby pond skater will immediately be alerted to your presence, glide over the water with incredible speed and take you out with a swift stab from its sharp beak.

Water boatman

Niall Benvie

Water boatman

Invertebrates answer to the great white shark.

Using powerful legs and an upside-down swimming strategy for extra sneakiness, unsuspecting prey beware. Any sign of a struggle and the water boatman will be at your side in seconds, injecting you with toxic saliva before slurping up your insides – lovely! Water boatman are voracious predators and will happily feast on fellow insects, tadpoles and even small fish if given half a chance.

Leech

John Bridges

Leech

Sucks to be you.

Leeches are the very definition of ‘blood-thirsty’ and can’t wait to latch their powerful jaws around a host. Don’t worry though, the victim won’t suspect a thing thanks to the injection of some anaesthetic followed by the enzyme ‘hirudin’ to prevent clotting and then it’s a liquid lunch for these infamous underwater vampires.

Common bladderwort

Josh Styles

Common bladderwort 

Bet you didn't expect to see a plant on this list.

Sadly, not your average pond plant; you’ll need to head to somewhere boggy for a chance to see bladderwort, but an aquatic carnivore list just wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the fastest plant in the world!

Bladderwort won’t chase you down, it’s much smarter than that. Instead, bladderwort sets a trap and lures you in. The bladders, or traps, are hollow underwater structures with an opening that is kept closed. When a small animal triggers the bristles that project from the surface of the opening, the trap suddenly opens, and a quick inflow of water sucks the prey inside.

Water scorpion

Barry Clough

Water scorpion

We hope you aren't clawstrophobic.

These underwater scorpion imitators are also known as ‘toe biters’ and may well take a nip at you should you paddle in the shallows. Lurking among the dead leaves just waiting for the opportune moment to ambush, the water scorpion will grab at tadpoles and small fish with its pincer like legs. Lucky for us, the water scorpions tail isn’t actually a sting but instead is used more like a snorkel to help them breathe underwater.

Jump in

Chief Brody may have needed a bigger boat, but a garden pond is great no matter how big or small it is. Want to discover even more ways to help local nature thrive? Download our FREE My Wild Garden guide for tips and hints to transform your garden, yard or balcony for wildlife.

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Tom Marshall