water voles

  • Created by: LU,KTGFVW
  • Created on: 18-05-17 11:46


  • water vole - arvicola amphibious
  • britain's most endangered mammal
  • 95% have gone from their previous habitats
  • some of the main reasons are: loss of habitat, changes in land management, and predation by the north American Minx
  • semi-aquatic rodents
  • size = 14-22cm (not including tail)
  • weight = 140-150g
  • strong swimmers and have water repelent fur, small ears, blunt muzzle and a hairy tail
  • the live in colonies made by breeding females
  • females have 2-5 litters annually
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since April 1998 the water vole has recieved legal protection through its inclusion in:

  • schedule 5 of the wildlife and countryside act 1981 in respect to section 9(4) only
  • this means that it is a offence to perpously damage or destroy places which water voles use for shelter and to desturb water voles while they are there


  • they have their own species action plan
  • usually means that there are efforts to restore habitats and populations
  • raise awareness of the conservation issues associated with the water vole
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  • typically prefer riparian zone habitat with dense patches of grasses, rushes, sedges and reeds
  • they are almost entirely vegetarian feeding of the vegetation in or around the waters edge
  • steep bank profiles are preferre as they offer opportunities to create extensive burrow systems
  • when they can't burrow they make shelters out of the vegetatiopn
  • do not like salt water so avoids estuaries, saltmarches and areas prone to prolonged flooding
  • some indicators that they are there are: plant stems cut at 45 degrees, burrows and lavatory sites
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factors affecting water voles

  • degradation of river bank habitats
  • intensive engineering and bank protection work
  • severe mowing/strimming
  • heavy grazzing from livestock
  • population fragmentation
  • changes in water level - land drainages, flood control
  • predation by American Minx
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  • slow-flowing water
  • little or no water level change
  • deepish water


  • fast-flowing water
  • very shallow water
  • watercourse drying up
  • prolonged floods


  • meadowsweet
  • willowherb
  • nettles
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