water vole

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

water vole

a large amphibious vole, Arvicola terrestris, of Eurasian river banks: family Cricetidae
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
? Cheshire Wildlife Trust was in London at the House of Commons HS2 Select Committee to voice its concerns over changes to the HS2 Phase 2a scheme and possible impact on the water vole population near Crewe Terry Whittaker/2020VISION
I don't think I'll ever spot a water vole in my garden pond and, at this rate, I don't expect to see too many baby frogs this summer.
Once a site has been chosen or a new site registered, it just needs to be surveyed once, and all sightings and signs of water voles along a 500m length of riverbank recorded online at www.ptes.org/watervoles
However, to enlarge the sample size, an additional estimation of the area of water vole home ranges was made, in which the 24 individuals with more than 25 fixes were taken into account.
Feeding platforms are also being put in place so that the public can catch a glimpse of water voles, now one of the UK's most threatened mammal species with a reported 95% decline since 1970.
CONSERVATION experts from across the country will gather in Northumberland for a conference on a project which has seen almost 1,000 criticallyendangered water voles released in the county.
National Trust conservation manager Alex Raeder with one of 150 specially bred water voles
Project officer Stephen Willis explained that a water vole colony on the edge of Glasgow had been threatened by industrial development and the decision was made to catch the animals and transfer them to the Trossachs.
Changes in land-use practices in the UK and riverbank management techniques resulted in habitat loss, contributing to the decline of the water vole.
Previous research showed water voles vanishing from 94 per cent of places they were once found - and the latest data reveals the species' range continues to contract.
Graham Holyoak, project manager for Tyne Rivers Trust which successfully led the first phase of the project to establish a predator free environment for water voles, said: "Volunteers gathered over 1,000 records with no sighting of mink, which is the water vole's main predator, so we are confident that the habitat is now ready for the re-introduction to begin."