water vole eating up his greens by Grandalf
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A water vole munching on water plants in a stream at Barnes WWT

The European Water Vole (Arvicola amphibius formerly called A. terrestris) is a semi-aquatic mammal that resembles a rat. In fact, the water vole is often informally called the water rat.3 Some authorities consider the Southwestern Water Vole in the same species, but it is now generally considered a distinct species.24 Water voles have rounder noses than rats, deep brown fur, chubby faces and short fuzzy ears; unlike the rat their tails, paws and ears are covered with hair.

Water voles reach 140–220mm in length (5–9 inches) plus a tail of 55%–70% of this. Adults weigh from 160–350 g (6–12 ounces), juveniles weigh less but must reach around 140–170 g (5–6 ounces) to be able to survive their first winter.

In the wild, they survive for 2 years on average; most do not survive a second winter. In captivity, they normally start to deteriorate in condition as they approach their third year becoming thinner and losing much of their fur, nearly all die during their third winter.

Conservation
The water vole population in the UK has fallen from its estimated pre-1960 level of around 8 million to 2.3 million in 1990 and to 354,000 (other source: 750,000) in 1998. This represents a 90-95% loss. It is still declining dramatically, the most recent estimate for 2004 is around 220,000. This decline is partly attributed to the American Mink, an aggressive predator of the vole, together with unsympathetic farming and watercourse management which destroyed parts of the water vole’s habitat.

On 26 February 2008 the UK Government announced full legal protection for Water Voles would be introduced from 6 April 2008.11

Consequently, the water vole is the UK’s fastest declining mammal and efforts are under way to protect the water vole and its habitat from further destruction. One aspect of water vole conservation in the UK is focussed on non-linear habitats such as reed bed which support extensive networks or metapopulations. Other areas supporting healthy populations of water voles are large conurbations such as Birmingham and London and some upland areas where American Mink are scarce. Across the UK the Wildlife Trusts and other organisations are undertaking many practical projects to conserve and restore water vole populations.

Tags

mammal, vole, wildlife

Now 54, have had several career paths but now would like to concentrate on an environmental or wildlife role. married with three children and three grandsons who live in Australia.
Have recently moved house and am now living in Hunston, a little village situated nicely between Pagham and Selsey in West Sussex.

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Comments

  • bouncy
    bouncyover 4 years ago

    What a cute little guy! Never seen one before, so thanks for introducing us. Great capture, Dave!

  • My pleasure my dear, glad you like him, Dave

    – Grandalf

  • klikker
    klikkerover 4 years ago

    LOL, Its a RAT!!! Great shot mate. Very shy little beasts so you did very well in getting such a clear shot. Nick:)

  • Cheers Nick, never really sure which is which, so just go with ratty on the riverbank, cheers, hows everyone there?

    – Grandalf

  • byronbackyard
    byronbackyardover 4 years ago

    Oh that is just too cute, great character shot!

  • Thank you very much, thay are great little characters and now making a comeback thanks to management programmes across the country, best wishes Dave

    – Grandalf

  • paintingsheep
    paintingsheepover 4 years ago

    Delightful!

  • Thank you so much Gena, Dave

    – Grandalf

  • Aj Finan
    Aj Finanover 4 years ago

    Oh how cute is he, love his ruffled coat lol. Well done another fantastic nature shot :)

  • Thank you Aj, surprisingly cute for a ratty impersonator, Dave

    – Grandalf

  • Jon Lees
    Jon Leesover 4 years ago

    a lovely vole Dave, nice capture!

  • Thank you so much for the kind comments Jon, Dave

    – Grandalf

  • swaby
    swabyover 4 years ago

    A little beauty, you find the cutest critters Dave! Excellent capture!

  • Thank you so much for the kind comments Swaby, they’re all around us my dear we just have to take notice and enjoy them, hopefully thats what my pics help people do, Dave

    – Grandalf

  • BigCatPhotos
    BigCatPhotosover 4 years ago

    This is just wonderful………..just such a gorgeous little water vole.

  • Thank you so much for the kind comments, Dave

    – Grandalf

  • Lynne Prestebak
    Lynne Prestebakover 4 years ago

    I have never seen a vole either…he’s very photogenic..Great shot!

  • Thank you Lynne, glad I could introduce you to them, Dave

    – Grandalf

  • DawsonImages
    DawsonImagesover 4 years ago

    Nice capture

  • Thank you so much for the kind comments, Dave

    – Grandalf

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