water vole

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water vole

a large amphibious vole, Arvicola terrestris, of Eurasian river banks: family Cricetidae

Water Vole


also water rat (Arvicola terrestris), a mammal of the family Cricetidae of the order Rodentia. Its body measures up to 24 cm long and its tail, up to 15 cm. It is distributed everywhere in Europe and in northern Asia and parts of Southwest Asia. In the USSR it is found from the western borders to the Lena River and Lake Baikal in the east.

Most frequently the water vole is found along the banks of stagnant or slowly flowing bodies of water. It swims well and leads a semiaquatic mode of existence. Especially numerous in the floodlands along large rivers, the water vole lives in burrows dug in the river banks. In the summer it often builds a nest over the water in piles of dried reeds. The animal feeds on plants; besides wild plants it eats cabbage, potatoes, and root crops. In the winter it sometimes stores rhizomes, root crops, and tubers. Breeding from April to September, it has two or three litters per year, each containing from two to eight young. The number of water voles varies from year to year. High flooding, the drying up of bodies of water, epizootic diseases, and unfavorable weather cause their destruction. The water vole is harmful to field crops and in forestry and gardening. It is the main source of tularemic epizootics. The hides of water voles make second-rate fur.


Vodianaia krysa i bor’ba s nei v Zapadnoi Sibiri. Novosibirsk, 1959. [Collection of articles.]
Panteleev, P. A. Populiatsionnaia ekologiia vodianoi polevki i mery bor’by. Moscow, 1968.
References in periodicals archive ?
Previous research showed water voles vanishing from 94% of places they were once found - and the latest data reveals the species' range continues to contract.
The new analysis of records led by the Wildlife Trusts revealed a decline of 30 per cent in the areas where water voles live from 2006 to 2015.
This combination has meant up to 90% of the UK's water vole population have been lost during the past few decades.
The distribution report underlines how important our water vole reintroduction work is at Kielder and why it is so important that our project continues.
Water vole numbers have declined to worrying levels in England due to habitat loss and the introduction of American Mink - a species not native to the UK and a voracious water vole predator.
Once a familiar sight along our waterways, water voles have rapidly disappeared from much of the landscape, experiencing the most serious decline of any wild mammal over the last century.
In Britain, a decline in Eurasian water vole population has been observed for many years due to predation by American mink, Neovison vison (Jefferies et al.
When the children's classic was first published in 1908, the water vole was a widely known and common sight across the waterways of the UK.
Water Vole Project officer Katie Milburn said: "The whole point is that to be able to conserve the species we need accurate data on their current distribution.
The River & Rowing Museum's Ratty's Refuge garden hopes to help halt the decline of the water vole, whose numbers have plummeted by 90 per cent since 1990, by inspiring gardeners who live near waterways to create a wildlife refuge.
Water vole (Arvicola terrestris) density as risk factor for human alveolar echinococcosis.
Between 1990 end 1997, water vole numbers across the country plummeted by 88 per cent, while the Sussex population suffered a 97 per cent reduction, leading experts to predict local extinction by 2003.