Priority species healthcheck
Once a common feature of the river bank, this
large vole is now at risk
With their small ears buried in fur, their blunt faces and short
tails, voles look quite different from mice, which have pointy
faces, big ears and long tails.
The water vole is much larger than it's cousins, the bank vole
and field vole, and can sometimes approach half a kilo in weight.
It burrows into the banks of rivers and streams, eating grasses,
rushes, sedges and aquatic vegetation. Often it consumes the
equivalent of three quarters of it's own bodyweight daily.
Although individuals defend their stretch of riverbank during
the breeding season, they are sociable animals, dropping
antagonisms and sharing nests in winter. In fact numbers can build
up to high levels in summer.
However in Wales as elsewhere in Britain, their distribution has
shrunk in recent years, giving them the unenviable title of fastest
declining mammal and making this elusive and delightful creature a
priority for conservation action.
Information from CCW publication: Species Series - Small
mammals in Wales
Status (Legal protection)
- Species of principal importance in Wales (S.42)
- UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species
- Schedule 5 Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981
Information from www.arkive.org and www.jncc.gov.uk.
Status, trend, target and threat information comes live from