Water voles are often mistakenly called water rats, but they are only distantly related to rats. Water voles have a chubby face with a blunt nose and short furry ears almost hidden by long fur.

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Overview

Picture of a water voleOrder: Rodentia

Family: Cricetidae

Species: Arvicola amphibius

IUCN Red List Status: UK: Endangered; Global: Least Concern

Population Trend: stable globally, declining in the UK.

Distribution: throughout British Isles (except northern Scotland & Ireland), and Europe (except for southern parts of France, Portugal, Spain, Italy & Greece). Also USSR, SW Canada & north western parts of North America.

Habitat: rivers, canals, streams, ponds, lakes, marshes. Sometimes found far from water, in woodland, meadows, crop fields and gardens.

Description: rat-like in appearance but with a rounder face with a blunt nose, short furry ears, shorter tail; long, glossy, dark-brown fur.
       
Size: male:- head and body, 20cm; tail, 12cm. Female slightly smaller.

Life-span: about 5 months in the wild - usually no more than 18 months. Up to 5 years in captivity.

Food: mainly grasses and waterside plants. Also twigs, buds, bulbs, roots and fallen fruit.

 

Read More: Introduction

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