Natural pools can provide great opportunities for integration and provisions for the surrounding environment. They can act as a reservoir for rain waters, plant species, wildlife, and can provide nutrient rich irrigation for the garden and edible crops.

Having a healthy body of natural, chemical free water in your backyard opens up a whole range of possibilities for the inclusion of plants and wildlife, but how far you go depends entirely on personal preferences. In this article we take a look at the characteristics and benefits of some of the more common wildlife species suited to life in, or around, natural pools in Australia.


Natural pools and ponds will almost always attract dragonflies to your backyard which is good news – they are exceptional insect hunters and both dragonflies and dragonfly larvae particularly love to eat mosquitoes.

In fact, electric bug zappers are far more likely to kill dragonflies than mosquitoes, so you can ditch the insect traps if you have dragonflies around. They’ll keep your mosquito and other insect numbers down for you.

Dragonflies are such proficient insect hunters because of their incredible manoeuvrability in the air. They are able to hover, fly in all directions, and can camouflage themselves to other flying insects mid-flight. They do this by constantly adjusting their position to always occupy the same spot in its prey’s retina which makes them appear motionless to their targets.

Dragonflies are cold blooded insects so they need to absorb plenty of warmth from the sun to be active. If you would like to attract dragonflies to your pool it’s a good idea to include some light-coloured rocks around your natural pool or garden in sunny spots for dragonflies to sun themselves on.

Although dragonflies don’t rely on specific plants to nourish their young the way some other insects do, some species do use water plants as nurseries, so it’s good to include native aquatic plants too.

There are over 320 known species of Dragonflies in Australia, each with distinctive markings and colours that emerge at different times of year, so keep a look out for them year-round.


The eastern water dragon is well adapted to suburban life and you’re likely to find one in your backyard if you have a permanent source of water, such as a natural swimming pool or pond. Having water dragons around is good news for your natural pool and garden – It’s a sign of a healthy environment free from chemicals and pollution.

Eastern water dragons are generally shy around humans, so although they can look intimidating they’re certainly not to be feared. They actively hunt for insects, frogs, yabbies and water insects both day and night, and may occasionally eat vegetation, fruit and berries as well.

They are semi-aquatic (they can remain submerged for up to 30 minutes) and will live for years in healthy gardens with freshwater nearby along the east coast of Australia.
To encourage water dragons to take up residence in your yard, try protecting and including native shrubs and trees around your pool or pond – especially ones overhanging or close to the water as these provide a home for water dragons.


Many Australian homes include a fish pond in the yard, but you’re more likely to find goldfish or an introduced species such as koi or common carp in the water rather than something local. Choosing native fish – such as Australian rainbow fish – for your pond is an excellent alternative but you need to take care in choosing which species to include.

In the right conditions native fish will live for many years. Providing the right type and amount of food and maintaining a healthy body of oxygen-rich water is key. Different fish require different sets of conditions relating to the size, depth, surface area, sun and shade characteristics of your pond. Some fish need shallow water with a large surface area, some require depth, some need shade and some a lot of sun, so it’s important to choose a species best suited to the pond you have or the pond you wish to build. All native fish require native water plants in the water for shade, protection against predators, and to lay eggs on.

Space and population are also important. An overcrowded pond can result in toxic build-ups and algal blooms. Different species require different amounts of space, so it’s always a good idea to start with a small number of fish first. If the conditions are right your fish will breed a sustainable population from there or you can introduce more.

Like water dragons, fish can be a threat to frogs as many species feed on tadpoles. If you like having frogs in your garden be extra careful which fish you introduce to maintain a balanced habitat.


Eastern Long-necked, or snake-necked, turtles are very common in eastern Australia and live in bodies of slow moving water like farm dams, rivers, lakes and ponds so are well suited to natural pools.

Long-necked turtles hibernate during winter and are active in the summer months where they feed on fish, tadpoles, frogs and crayfish. Both heavy rains and drought can trigger migration from lakes or ponds which may result in a turtle taking up residence in your natural pool.

Turtles appearing in your backyard will most likely be resting temporarily and feeding before moving on, but if you see it digging it may be settling in to start a family. Turtles will dig a deep hole before laying up to 20 eggs which will hatch between three to eight months later depending on weather conditions.

If you introduce or find a turtle in residence in your natural pool and need to handle it, be careful how you pick it up. Turtles have defensive scent glands above each leg which can secrete a liquid with a stinky and persistent odour. The best way is to pick them up by the shell and hold them well away from you so you’re out of firing range.


If you live along the east coast of Australia, you might be familiar with the distinctive mating call of the striped marsh frog around your natural pool or pond – a single popping or clicking sound repeated every few seconds.

Mostly hibernating during winter, the frogs lay masses of eggs as the weather warms up from September to April which look like beaten egg whites with pepper in it.

These frogs and their tadpoles are perfect for keeping summer insects at bay, feeding on anything that moves including house flies, blowflies, crickets, cockroaches, mosquitoes and their larvae, as well as slugs, snails and beetles.

Striped marsh frogs are the most prolific and common species of backyard frog for a good reason – they can be aggressive to smaller and less dominant frogs (even eat them in some cases!) which can make it difficult for other species to breed. So if you’d like to have more than one type or a less common species of frog around your pool, make sure they have access to a separate body of water free from striped marsh frogs.

For more information on building your own natural pool or swimming pond contact us here.