How long does it take a pond to attract wildlife?

3 min read
Hayley Kinsey Four Spotted Chaser Dragonfly

When I wrote this post about how to build a wildlife pond, the most common question I got was: how long will it take my wildlife pond to establish?

It can take wildlife as little as a few hours to reach your wildlife pond! Water beetles arrived in my pond whilst it was filling up.

Here are some other species you might see in your pond, and how long they might take to arrive.

Frogs and frogspawn

I had frogs in and around my pond within a couple of months, and my pond had frogspawn in its first spring. The first summer after I dug my pond, the garden was host to lots of baby frogs. The tadpoles and froglets provided free entertainment for my nieces (and me).

Hayley Kinsey Frog


Watching dragonflies hunt over my suburban garden, I felt like I was in Jurassic Park. Among the oldest insects in the world, these beauties might arrive at your pond within a couple of months. I saw dragonfly nymphs in my pond within months, and they were hatched and flying in the pond's first year.

Hayley Kinsey Dragonfly 1

Look out for their exuvia, outer skin shed in a moult during metamorphosis.

Hayley Kinsey Dragonfly Exuvia

Dragonfly excuvia

Garden birds

If you give your garden birds a way to access the water, like a ramp or a beach, you'll see them drinking from and bathing in your pond. This could be as early as the day you fill it.

Hayley Kinsey Blackbird in Pond


If you're very lucky, you might get newts living in your pond. The experiences of my friends who have been the lucky ones is varied: sometimes newts arrive surprisingly fast, sometimes they turn up after a few years. Keep your eyes peeled.

Hayley Kinsey Newt


Hoverflies are particularly fond of my water lilies. Watch them walk across the floating leaves.

Hayley Kinsey Water Lillies


Pond snails will turn up in your pond seemingly overnight. If you're an overzealous gardener who likes to throw snails over your neighbour's fence, resist the urge. They won't do your pond any harm.

Hayley Kinsey Froglet


The least likely visitors to my pond! I don't live near a body of water, yet was visited regularly in the pond's first summer by a pair of mallards, who splashed around in the pond before retiring to sit by my chair on the grass.

Hayley Kinsey Ducks in Pond

Other species

This post contains a tiny fraction of the species that might visit your pond. Keep looking, snap photos, consult ID books or online groups, and enjoy your pond!

Should I move wildlife into my wildlife pond?

Don't ever move wildlife to your pond. Don't relocate frogspawn or collect any other wildlife from other areas. Doing so can spread disease and disturb habitats, and there's really no need: the wildlife will find you!

How can I encourage wildlife to visit my pond?

Check out this post for help with how to encourage wildlife to your pond.

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