The Water Vole (Arvicola terrestris)
The water vole is a rat-sized semi-aquatic mammal with dark chestnut-brown fur, short rounded ears and a hair-covered tail, half the length of the head and body. The water vole is native and found throughout Britain.
Water voles have undergone a long term decline in Britain, disappearing from 94% of their former sites (Figure 1). They are predated upon by the invasive American mink, as well as this habitat degradation and pollution are also thought to have contributed to the decline of the water vole. Predator exclusion, bank side management, and pollution control provide viable tools for sustainting local populations.
You can help us to monitor water vole populations by downloading the Mammal Mapper App and participating in our latest project “Walk This Water Way”. All you have to do is walk at least 600m of waterway and record your sightings in the app. You’ll need to enter the Survey ID as WTWW.
Need a nudge to get out surveying? How about if we tell you that the first 50 people to submit 5 or more surveys will receive some lovely photos of our target species and a Mammal Society pin badge! If that’s not enough, then the user who logs the most surveys with the survey ID WTWW will get a prize bundle! We even have a separate prize bundle for the user who logs the most surveys in the UK, and the user who logs the most just in Sussex! So, what are you waiting for? Download the Mammal Mapper App and get recording!
- Water voles eat 80% of their own body weight a day to survive.
- Water voles eat over 200 different species of plant.
- To try and avoid predation, water voles jump into water and kick mud into the faces of their predators.
- They are very territorial animals and the average territory size for a breeding female is 150m.
- Baby water voles are born blind and hairless.