In Europe, rich harvest periods can cause water vole "plagues" to take place, during which the voles eat ravenously, destroying entire fields of grass and leaving the fields full of burrows. "Using field signs to identify water voles - are we getting it wrong?". Because of this system, males travel over a much larger home range than females, and they tend to be more aggressive than females, with aggressiveness coinciding with breeding patterns. Both males and females have rather large flank glands, which serve to mark territories so that nests are not invaded by others, as well as signaling to mates during the breeding season. Male voles live along about 130 metres of water bank, while females have ranges about 70 metres long. During the winter they are seen to dig tunnels through the snow, and usually do not surface above the snow once 6 cm have accumulated (approx. (2014, March 25). The Status, Habitat, and Response to Grazing of Water Vole Populations in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, U.S.A. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 35(1), 100-109. Water voles prefer lush riparian vegetation which provides important cover to conceal animals when they are above ground. The water-vole Arvicola amphibius is found in most of Europe, Russia, West Asia and Kazakhstan. [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. Juveniles used fairly small ranges (about 400 m²), with no difference between males and females. ... Stoddart M (1970) Individual range, … Although water voles have declined in Norfolk, it remains a national stronghold with strong populations in the Broads, along the North Norfolk coast, in the Fens area and on the South Norfolk Claylands. It has also been found that grazing affects the water vole populations as well. It has suffered the largest decline of any British mammal in recent years. Water voles are a protected species in the UK and the country’s fastest declining mammal, with the population having fallen by 95% since the 1970’s due to loss of habitat and predation by mink. [5] [18] This makes it an offence to disturb, damage or obstruct their breeding places. The social structure of water voles was polygamous (promiscuous), as found in many other voles [9, 20, 41]. Their large hind feet help make them excellent swimmers, and they are found in alpine or semi-alpine meadows near water. Mammalian Species, 223, 1-6. Adult water voles each have their own territories, which they mark with fecal latrines located either near the nest, burrow and favoured water's edge platforms where voles leave or enter the water. [12] Latrines are known to be a good survey indicator of this species, and can be used to gauge abundance of animals. Klaus, M., Moore, R., & Vyse, E. (2001, July). As per the Water Vole Conservation Handbook, the fencing was buried to a minimum depth of 700 mm, and in most cases deeper. 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. Water voles like tall lush bankside vegetation for [22], In 2015, People's Trust for Endangered Species launched a new project to try to coordinate conservation efforts for the water-vole in the UK. Water voles live in two distinct bands through the western United States and Canada, extending from British Columbia and Alberta through parts of Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. The relationship between home range and reproductive status of water voles (Arvicola amphibius) was studied by radio-tracking on an island off the coast of northern Norway in 2006–2009. In years of that are wetter than usual it has been observed that young water voles become reproductively active sooner, and therefore can have more offspring. The European water vole (Arvicola terrestris) is the largest of the native Eurasian voles, weighing up to 250 grams (9 ounces) and having a body up to 22 cm (9 inches) long and a tail up to 13 cm (5 inches). The distribution of habitats is found to be extremely variable, due to the geographical barriers of large coniferous forests, mountains, and expansive valleys without readily available waterways. In lowland areas, water voles occur beside: small, slow-flowing burns; small backwaters; canals; ditch systems; overgrown field drains; Some habitats may be in intensively farmed and urban areas. The water vole lives along rivers, streams and ditches, around ponds and lakes, and in marshes, reedbeds and areas of wet moorland. Impact of Precipitation and Grazing on the Water Vole in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana and Wyoming, U.S.A. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 31(3), 278-282. [2][3] Water voles are on the USDA Forest Service Region 2 sensitive species list because they maintain very small populations and there is high concern that their required habitat may be declining. Retrieved March 20, 2015, from, North American Mammals: Microtus richardsoni. Some adult females may have up to two litters during one breeding season. [23], A water-vole named "Ratty" is a leading character in the 1908 children's book The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame: the locality used in the book is believed to be Moor Copse in Berkshire, England, and the character's name "Ratty" has become widely associated with the species and their riverbank habitat, as well as the misconception that they are a species of rat.[24][25]. The maximum distance between two … On 26 February 2008, the UK Government announced full legal protection for water voles would be introduced from 6 April 2008. Areas of heavily grazed and trampled riparian habitats are generally avoided. Wetlands West (formerly the Severn and Avon Vales Wetlands Partnership) reports on work done as part of the Water Vole Recovery Project in the Berkeley Vale. Mus amphibius Linnaeus, 1758 Article Google Scholar … [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]. [6], Newborn voles are naked and blind, and weigh about 5 g. They are able to vocalize immediately, and within 3 days start to show fur. Ludwig, D. (1984, November 14). [19] The reserve rangers credit this to conservation management, which included thinning of woodland. Water voles are fully protected under section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). Trapping in the largest section of river known to have water voles indicated that the observed density of water voles in blocks of habitat was 13 animals per km. They live around rivers, streams, ponds, and other bodies of water. It is occasionally called a water rat, but unlike a rat it has a furry tail, rounded ears, a blunt face and a vegetarian diet. 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",, 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. Strachan, R. and Moorhouse, T. (2006). [10] The presence of livestock presents numerous detrimental changes to the water vole's habitat: altered abiotic characteristics, compacted soil, increased runoff, fractured stream banks, erosion, as well as loss of vegetation as protective cover and a food source. Evolutionary Ecology, 12(6), 717-727. The wide, weird lake where the alders sigh—. [21] In Gloucestershire a new nature reserve for water voles was created in 2009/2010 at Nind (a former trout farm). Arvicola terrestris (Linnaeus, 1758) A water vole Arvicola amphibius population inhabiting midfield ponds was studied by live-trapping, radio-telemetry and with camera traps. Field signs of water vole presence such as stems of plant material cut at a distinctive 45-degree angle, latrines, feeding platforms, tracks, runs and burrows are easy to observe where they are common. Water voles prefer sites with steep or stepped bank profiles into which they can burrow to create nest chambers above the water table. Metapopulation Biology: Microtus richardsoni in the Rocky Mountain Front Range of Alberta. By day 10 they are running and climbing, and by day 17 they are swimming on their own. On average these animals are about 20–27 cm in total length (including the tail), with tails 6–10 cm long, and weigh 125-178 grams. It is often informally called the water rat, though it only superficially resembles a true rat. This represents a 90–95% loss. The water vole's large incisors, combined with its very large skull and well developed zygomatic arch (which strong chewing muscles attach to),[5] contribute to its ability to efficiently dig tunnels and chew through tough roots. Schedule 5 of this Act makes it an offence to intentionally damage or obstruct access to water vole burrows. [4], Water voles reach 14–22 centimetres (5.5–8.7 in) in length, plus a tail which is about half the length of the body. Water voles can mate on the land or in water and will normally produce an average of around 20 offspring per annum in captivity. The water vole is a UK BAP priority species, with the Environment Agency (EA) identified as the … [2] The species is widely known by the synonym A. terrestris which for many decades was treated as the valid name. Microgeographic variation in allozymes and mitochondrial DNA of Microtus richardsoni, the water vole, in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana and Wyoming, U.S.A. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 79(7), 1286-1295. Soft soils are preferred. They also live in reed beds where they will weave ball shaped nests above ground if no suitable banks exist in which to burrow. Up to 8 baby voles can be born, each weighing around 10 grams (0.4 oz). Vole originated from the Norwegian word vollmus; voll, meaning field, and mus, meaning mouse. Water voles disappear over winter but don’t hibernate. They may attack if their territory is invaded by another water vole. Habitat and home range Ideal water vole habitat is a slow flowing waterway with permanent water which does not flood for more than a week or so at a time. Brighton University have been working with Sussex Wildlife Trust and others on DNA and habitat analyses to establish new national protocols for water vole conservation. Ryland, K. and Kemp, B (2009). In addition, water voles tend to limit the extent of their activity to a set range. The water vole (Microtus richardsoni) is the largest North American vole. Water voles breed for 3 months during the summer, and young are born from June until late September. The aim was to test assumptions about the species’ social structure relative to other microtines. The water vole is vegetarian, feeding on a wide range of plants found in and beside fresh water. However, many species of predator prefer other rodents, such as Microtus voles and wood mice, due to their greater numerical abundance. Habitat destruction used to be the major cause of extinctions, but now it is predation by non-native North American mink Neovison vison that is responsible for much of this … Density, body mass and parasite species richness of terrestrial mammals. They are half the size of a full grown water vole by the time they are weaned. Retrieved March 20, 2015, from, Klaus, M., Moore, R., & Vyse, E. (1999). Depending upon the species, voles’ soft dense fur is generally solid gray, brown, chestnut, or reddish on the upperparts, or reddish brown on the back and gray on the sides. Their burrows often have entrances at the water's edge or under water,[5] and they usually live in colonies of 8-40 individuals along the waterway. It is found in the northwestern United States and southern parts of western Canada. Klaus, M. (2003). To increase the population density of the water vole within the National Park. The National Water-Vole Monitoring Programme (NWVMP) is the first ongoing monitoring scheme for this species in the UK and aims to bring together data from several hundred sites to allow the status of this animal to be assessed year-on-year. Approximately 26% of young males and females begin to reproduce during the breeding season of their birth,[6] but overwintered adults are responsible for most of the reproduction. Water voles live in two distinct bands through the western United States and Canada, extending from British Columbia and Alberta through parts of Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. [15] They also scent-mark by using a secretion from their bodies (a flank gland), although this is not normally detectable during a field survey. [7] As a species the mean body mass is claimed as 140 g (4.9 oz). Underparts are paler, ranging from … [7][16] The rarely checked invasive population of American mink has reportedly caused a decline of water voles in Britain.[17]. It is still declining dramatically: the most recent estimate for 2004 is around 220,000. The rolls protect against erosion and at the same time provide food and shelter for the animals … Retrieved March 20, 2015, from, Vole. Ecofender™ Water Vole Panels (3mm) Our Ecofender™ Water Vole Fence Panels are designed to prevent water voles from entering construction sites. Northwestern Naturalist, 90(1), 1-16. Retrieved March 21, 2015, from JSTOR. Water vole range. The water vole, the largest of the British voles, is perhaps . The young voles open their eyes three days after their birth. The water vole has a definite range, usually over about 130m of water bank for the male and rather less for the female. The female vole's pregnancy lasts for approximately 21 days. They are found in alpine or semi-alpine meadows near water, usually between 914-3,201 m in elevation. It is possible for large, optimal adults to weigh as much as 225 to 386 g (7.9 to 13.6 oz)[5] However, these are peak weights. The best sites support a continuous swathe of … Once a very familiar mammal of the British countryside, the population has undergone one of the fastest and most serious recent declines of any British mammal . (n.d.). [10] This may be due to the very short breeding season compared to other rodents who breed for 6 months or more. Water voles have a limited and discontinuous geographic range, small local populations, and are habitat specialists (Lud-wig, 1981). Females give birth and care for her young in these underground nests, lined with leaves and grass. Burrows are normally located adjacent to slow moving, calm water which they seem to prefer. It rakes its hind feet over the gland to push the secretion out and then stamps it into the ground. Our Ecofender™ Water Vole Fence Panels have a life expectancy of up to 15 years. [5][clarification needed] Approximately 62 species are now considered to be in the genus Microtus. Retrieved March 21, 2015, from JSTOR. The water vole is a threatened species. Survey of vegetation and other habitat characteristics 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. ... Stoddart DM (1969) Individual range, dispersion and dispersal in a population of water voles (Arvicola terrestris L.). Genetic tests have been done that suggest that the closest relative to Microtus richardsoni is Microtus pennsylvanicus (the meadow vole). The water vole is the second largest arvicoline in its range (after the muskrat). Water voles have recently returned to Lindow Common nature reserve in Cheshire, after many years of absence. Those two forms are now universally considered the same species. [11], This article is about the North American species. To increase the range of the water vole within the National Park. Water voles are currently being reintroduced as a threatened species in Yorkshire, England. The water vole population in the UK has fallen from its estimated pre-1960 level of around 8 million to 2.3 million in 1990 and to 354,000 (other source: 750,000) in 1998. Surveys to obtain activity indices for both water voles and mink were maintained at these two sites throughout 1988 and 1989. For Old World water voles, see. Often tunnel or burrow entrances are found either at water level or submerged along the river banks. In the comic novel and film Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons, one of the characters, Urk, refers to the subject of his unrequited love, Elfine Starkadder, as his little water-vole. [4], These animals have gray-brown or red-brown fur with gray under parts. As a large and common microtine rodent, the range of predators faced by the European water vole is extensive. Tells of an apparently shy, easily frightened young female by a lakeside, who in the last line of the poem, it is revealed that: National Water-Vole Monitoring Programme (NWVMP), CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (. Water voles have recently undergone a significant decline in the UK, as a result of habitat loss and predation from the introduced American mink, Neovison vison. Females often make complex lawns of grazed vegetation around the burrow entrance . n Target 2 Achieve an increase in range by 50 new occupied 10km squares in the UK by 2010. Across the UK the Wildlife Trusts and other organisations are undertaking many practical projects to conserve and restore water vole populations. Water voles have unusually large hind feet, ranging between 25 and 34 mm in length, which can help distinguish the water vole from other similar rodents, and contribute to its speed in the water. However, they do not appear to survive well in more extreme environments such as the highlands of northern Scotland, or the hotter regions of southern France. 5-6 young, with a minimum gestation period of 22 days. It is also possible that there were influences from Swedish vall, which translates to mean field. They live under the snow during the winter. C. S. Calverley a 19th-century writer of (among other things) light verse, in his poem "Shelter", beginning: By the wide lake's margin I mark'd her lie— Latrines are flattened piles of droppings topped with fresh ones. Elsewhere, the mean body mass has been reported as 60 to 140 g (2.1 to 4.9 oz), although this figure includes immature water voles. Most often, water voles feed on the subterranean portion of plants, which are available to them year round. This would lead us to believe it is the primitive form of the genus Microtus, and that the morphological similarities between M. richardsoni and Arvicola are likely convergent traits. In the Massif Central area of France, however, farmers are campaigning for action to be taken against water voles, where plagues of these rodents are causing major damage to crops. The water vole is widely distributed throughout Europe from the UK to eastern Siberia . 7 to 8 months of the year). In Europe and Russia, they may venture into woods, fields, and gardens. Overwinter, water voles go under ground and … [7], Microtus richardsoni is also known as Richardson's water vole, Richardson vole, Richardson's meadow vole, Richardson meadow mouse, water rat, big-footed mouse, giant water vole, and water vole.[8]. Most water voles only live through one winter, and die at the end of the second breeding season. They breed prolifically in the summer months, though mortality during the winter is high. In the wild, on average, water voles only live about five months. There are also indications that the water vole is increasing in numbers in UK areas where the European otter has made a return. Water voles are most active during the day but it's rare to actually see one. The revised UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) targets for water vole, published in 2006 were as follows: n Target 1 Maintain the current range (730 occupied 10km squares) of water vole in UK. Retrieved March 20, 2015, from, Ludwig, D., & Anderson, P. (2009). It has been found that higher precipitation levels create increased availability of usable habitat for water voles. The Water Vole is found throughout the UK and Europe, with its range even extending into parts of Russia and populations are also found in certain parts of Canada and North America. Studies have shown that water voles have a very high metabolic rate, and therefore don't have to consume as much food as other rodents their size. The water vole is the UK's fastest declining mammal and efforts are under way to protect it and its habitat from further destruction. better known as ‘Ratty’ in ‘Wind in the Willows’. Jefferies, D. J., Morris, P. A., & Mulleneux, J. E. (1989). [5], They are active year-round, tunneling through snow during the winter. As well as frequenting typical lowland wetland habitats dominated by rank marginal aquatic vegetation, water voles are also just as at home in areas upland 'peatland' vegetation where they utilize suitable small ditches, rivers, and lochs surrounded by moorland up to 1000 m asl (e.g. The confusion stems from the fact that Linnaeus described two species of water vole on the same page of the same work. northern Scotland).[12]. rodents living in the rivers. The mean distance of daily movements was 118 m for males and 53 m for females. Individuals which were released outside the enclosure were subsequently recaptured again on a number of occasions within the fenced area. [11] The abundance of ferns, mosses and shrubs are imperative as ground cover to protect water voles from predation, and in areas of grazing these plants were scarce or non-existent, and therefore water voles weren't often found in these areas. Reproduction and population dynamics of the water vole, Microtus richardsoni. "Molecular systematics of a Holarctic rodent (, 10.1644/1545-1542(2000)081<0344:MSOAHR>2.0.CO;2,,, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from November 2017, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 18 October 2020, at 01:40. [5] Although, genetic data has been collected that suggests water voles do have the ability to disperse over land to reproduce with other populations, this overland dispersal between colonies tends to be higher with adjacent populations, and less so with increased distance. The Ecofender™ Water Vole Fence Panels come in a height of 1,700mm and two lengths of 1,560mm and 2,400mm. Water Vole Conservation Handbook (2nd edition). 2. Mus terrestris Linnaeus, 1758. Glasgow has recently been identified as a stronghold for water voles, including a distinct population of 'fossorial' water voles, which have been reported as inhabiting brownfield sites, road verges and urban parks. The water vole, Arvicola amphibius, is one such species. Maximum longevity in captivity is two and a half years. Female territory can extend as far as 150m and males range as far as 300m. Litter size tends to increase with age of the mother,[5] and ranges from 2-10 young. 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. Subadults, overwintered … They deposit distinctive black, shiny faeces in latrines. They spend much of their tim… Water voles prefer lush vegetation along the banks of ditches, reedbeds, streams, canals, marshes, ponds and rivers, and they particularly like reeds, rushes and sedges. A guide to water vole ecology and field signs Since April 6th, 2008, it has been illegal to trap, harm, kill, injure or disturb water voles Arvicola ... locate surviving populations and inform projects to restore them to their historic range. So far the research has led to a range of recommendations including : Locally: Improve habitat networks and connectivity around key water vole populations. After completing the detailed survey of water vole distribution in 1985 and 1986, water voles were radio-tracked at core sites 4 (in 1987 and 1988) and 16 (in 1987). In September 2019, the Box Moor Trust reintroducted 177 Water Voles in to the River Bulbourne in Hemel Hempstead as part of a three year plan. Water Voles live along the banks of slow-moving rivers, streams and canals and can also be found nesting in the banks of lakes and marshes. Water voles are expert swimmers and divers. The European Otter has been known to attack mink preying upon water vole. Macdonald, D. W., Sidorovich, V. E., Anisomova, E. I., Sidorovich, N. V., & Johnson, P. J. The European water vole or northern water vole (Arvicola amphibius, included in synonymy: A. terrestris), is a semi-aquatic rodent. This decline is partly attributed to the American mink, an aggressive predator of the vole, together with unsympathetic farming and watercourse management which destroyed parts of the water vole's habitat. Females mark their territories using discrete latrine sites, close to the burrows and at the boundaries. Water voles live in burrows which can extend up to 3 metres from the water’s edge. [1][10], The water-vole Arvicola amphibius is found in most of Europe, Russia, West Asia and Kazakhstan.[1]. Wildlife Conservation Research Unit. Water voles live in colonies but string themselves out along a watercourse. In areas of light or moderate grazing not as many young survived, and the population sizes tended to be much smaller than other colonies. [5] Although, gen… Their food source varies significantly depending on geographic location. [6] Around the time they reach 40 days of age, they move to their own nests and about 3 weeks later reach sexual maturity. The binomial applied to the water vole is Arvicola amphibius, it was formerly known by the junior synonym A. terrestris.
2020 water vole range