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. The Water Vole is one of six species of Vole found in the UK today. Water voles are the largest species of vole in Britain and are sometimes mistaken for brown rats, which can be found in a similar habitat. 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. Scotland’s water voles are genetically distinct from most of those in England and Wales. According to IUCN, the European water vole is abundant and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. 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 (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. Water Vole Anatomy and Appearance. 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. 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 … The water vole (Arvicola amphibius) was once a common sight along the banks of slow moving rivers, streams and other waterways in the UK.But numbers have been in decline in recent decades and it's now one of our most threatened mammals. 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*. They are found along densely vegetated banks of slow flowing rivers, ditches, lakes and marshes where water is present throughout the year. They are also sometimes commonly known as the water rat or water dog. But since the 1970s, water vole … Water voles burrow into steep canal or riverside banks to form a complicated system of underground tunnels and nesting chambers. 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. One aspect of water vole conservation in the UK is focused on non-linear habitats such as reed bed which support extensive networks or metapopulations. 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. Head-body length: 12 – 20 cmTail length: About half the length of the bodyWeight: Up to 300 gLifespan: Few survive […] The water vole is the UK's fastest declining mammal and efforts are under way to protect it and its habitat from further destruction. 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