The young voles open their eyes three days after their birth. Water voles tend to be active more during the day than at night. Size You may find shallow surface tunnels in your lawn, along the edges and under trees. Morand, S., & Poulin, R. (1998). According to IUCN, the European water vole is abundant and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Water voles have rounder noses than rats, deep brown fur, chubby faces and short fuzzy ears; unlike rats their tails, paws and ears are covered with hair. Habitat/Region. Water voles start to breed in spring, having three to four litters a year of up to five young. Overall, European water voles are a uniform dark brown colour, with slightly paler coloration on the underside. ‘Latrines’ of rounded, cigar-shaped droppings may also be spotted. Their pelage is quite thick and they are furred over their entire body, including their tail, unlike rats. Weaning occurs in 14-21 days after birth. Reportedly small Mustela weasels as well as European and introduced American mink may take the largest number of water voles of any predator due in part to aligning habitat preferences. They are half the size of a full grown water vole by the time they are weaned. [citation needed], Water voles mainly eat grass and other vegetation near the water, but will also consume fruits, bulbs, twigs, buds, and roots when given the opportunity. [7] Wildcats, red foxes, most species of hawk (especially common buzzards), owl (especially the barn owl, genus Strix, and Eurasian eagle-owl) and falcon (in large numbers by the common kestrel) in their range are among their reported predators. It is often informally called the water rat, though it only superficially resembles a true rat. They also live in reed beds where they will weave ball shaped nests above ground if no suitable banks exist in which to burrow. [3] Water voles have rounder noses than rats, deep brown fur, chubby faces and short fuzzy ears; unlike rats their tails, paws and ears are covered with hair. Rat droppings – size variable upto 17mm long and 6mm diameter. The European Otter has been known to attack mink preying upon water vole. British water voles have been recorded eating 227 plants. 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. [6] The minimum weight to successfully breed as well as to survive winter is reportedly 112 g (4.0 oz) in females and 115 g (4.1 oz) in males. The mating period lasts from March into late autumn. [1][10], The water-vole Arvicola amphibius is found in most of Europe, Russia, West Asia and Kazakhstan.[1]. They prefer soft, undisturbed earth banks which they can burrow into with wide margins which have tall grasses, stands of rosebay willowherb, purple loosestrife, meadowsweet, or nettles, often fringed with emergent rushes, sedges or reeds, to give them food and cover. [18] This makes it an offence to disturb, damage or obstruct their breeding places. [13], Food remains alone are not a reliable indicator of the presence of this species, as other smaller voles can also leave remains of large grasses and rushes.[14]. [21] In Gloucestershire a new nature reserve for water voles was created in 2009/2010 at Nind (a former trout farm). Water vole (Arvicola amphibius) Water vole much bigger than field vole, with head and body length of 14-22cm compared to 9-12cm. The gestation period lasts for approximately 21 days. 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T2149A115060819.en, "Tales of the Riverbank—How to spot 'Ratty' (previously "Water Volewatch 97")", "Ecology and Conservation of the Water Vole Arvicola terrestris amphibius", "Press release on Government news network", Macclesfield Borough Council's "Countryside and Ranger Service", "Berkeley Vale Water Vole Recovery Project (2007-2010)", Wetlands West Annual Report 2009/10, Appendix E", "PTES website for the National Water Vole Monitoring Programme", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=European_water_vole&oldid=990850546, Articles with dead external links from August 2019, Articles with permanently dead external links, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2017, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 26 November 2020, at 21:27. 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