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. Head-body length: 12 – 20 cmTail length: About half the length of the bodyWeight: Up to 300 gLifespan: Few survive […] 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. 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 one of the fastest declining wild mammals in the UK and has disappeared from many parts of the country where it was once common. 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. They are found along densely vegetated banks of slow flowing rivers, ditches, lakes and marshes where water is present throughout the year. 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. Water voles, immortalised by Ratty from Wind in the Willows, were once a common sight in the UK's waterways. But since the 1970s, water vole … Water Vole Anatomy and Appearance. 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. 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. Even worse, the introduction of the invasive American mink decimated their population, which fell by up to 90% from 1989 to 1998*. The water vole, or ‘water rat’ as it’s often mistakenly known, was once one of our most familiar riverside mammals. Water voles burrow into steep canal or riverside banks to form a complicated system of underground tunnels and nesting chambers. 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. Sadly, it’s now one of our most threatened native mammals. 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. Scotland’s water voles are genetically distinct from most of those in England and Wales. 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. 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. 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. According to IUCN, the European water vole is abundant and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. 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