Since most ponds do not contain many if any floating logs or adequate branches protruding from the banks, it is important for our wildlife to provide them with resting places. In some cases this may conflict with what many people consider “neatness.” For this reason a large number of ponds and lakes within local communities have barren shorelines with little wildlife habitat. A “neat” environment is generally devoid of wildlife. So you must reprogram your mind to appreciate a more natural arrangement and enjoy the resulting improvement in the quality of habitat.
At Wildflower Preserve we have tried two types of simulated basking habitat floating in ponds, cabbage palm trunks and a constructed raft. The palm trunks were attractive but had two drawbacks, they tended to absorb water and sink, and they rolled when birds stood on them or when turtles tried to climb up. The first raft constructed by a volunteer carpenter, Charles Kozora, had a ramp on one end and was successful except that the anchor dragged due to the chain being too short. So we are working on some new models with two ramps and better anchors.
Another huge advantage of basking rafts is that wildlife can feel comfortable in a pond while visitors walk on the shoreline. So despite the unnatural appearance of such rafts, I feel that they are wonderful both for wildlife and those who want to observe them closely without undue disruption of their activities.