Sometimes mistaken for the brown rat, the water vole is also known by the name of ‘water rat’ and gained legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act in … They are found along densely vegetated banks of slow flowing rivers, ditches, lakes and marshes where water is present throughout the year. The water vole, or ‘water rat’ as it’s often mistakenly known, was once one of our most familiar riverside mammals. The Eastern Region Mink and Water Vole Project operates across approx 12000km2 and having started in 2002 is the longest continually running mink control project of this scale in the UK. Water voles burrow into steep canal or riverside banks to form a complicated system of underground tunnels and nesting chambers. However, according to Wikipedia resource, the most recent estimate of its populations in the UK for 2004 is around 220,000 individuals. The Water Vole is a small sized rodent with a dark brown coat of fur, that has a number of black hairs scattered across it, and a lighter, greyish underside. Intelligent voles construct their burrows on several levels to minimise the risk of flooding, and at least one entrance will be below the water level for a fast escape if necessary. Notoriously shy, water vole (Arvicola amphibius) could once be seen peeping out of riverbank nooks and crannies throughout the British countryside.Then, their numbers started dropping in the UK due to habitat loss. Even worse, the introduction of the invasive American mink decimated their population, which fell by up to 90% from 1989 to 1998*. Water voles, immortalised by Ratty from Wind in the Willows, were once a common sight in the UK's waterways. Water Voles (Arvicola amphibius) are one of the UK’s most endearing and charismatic mammals, immortalised in British culture in famous tales such as The Wind and Willows (yes Ratty was indeed a water vole).Water voles hold a special place in British hearts, however are sadly the UK’s fastest declining wild mammal and without proactive conservation measures they’ll likely be lost forever. Water Vole Anatomy and Appearance. Head-body length: 12 – 20 cmTail length: About half the length of the bodyWeight: Up to 300 gLifespan: Few survive […] The UK’s population of water voles have fallen over the last 25 years, although they still remain the largest species of vole in Britain. But since the 1970s, water vole … Scotland’s water voles are genetically distinct from most of those in England and Wales. The water vole is one of the fastest declining wild mammals in the UK and has disappeared from many parts of the country where it was once common. The Water Vole (Arvicola amphibius) or The Wind in the Willow's water rat is the largest of our native voles, weighing up to 350g, with a rounded body, blunt muzzle and short round ears. According to IUCN, the European water vole is abundant and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. They are also sometimes commonly known as the water rat or water dog. The water vole is the UK's fastest declining mammal and efforts are under way to protect it and its habitat from further destruction. The Water Vole is one of six species of Vole found in the UK today. This has resulted in its inclusion as a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and legal protection through the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Sadly, it’s now one of our most threatened native mammals. 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