Eurasian Water Vole

Latin Name Arvicola amphibius
Class Mammalia
Order Rodentia
Family Cricetidae
IUCN status Least concern
Habitat Banks of slow moving rivers, streams and waterways
Distribution Widespread throughout Europe

General Information

Their waterside burrows have many floor levels and entrances to distribute water during flood times.

Water voles eat mainly grass and plants near the waters edge however they will venture inland to forage for roots,shoots, bulbs and fruit etc.

Although globally the water vole is plentiful, in the UK its numbers are decreasing at an alarming rate. In the 1960’s the numbers were around 8 million - the most recent estimate in 2004 suggested only 220,000 remain. This decline is partly due to the presence of the American mink, an aggressive predator, and loss of habitat due to unsympathetic changes in farming and waterwaymanagement.

Fun Fact

Ratty in Kenneth Graham’s “Wind in the Willow” is really a water vole.

Keeper Notes

In 2011, the Water Vole enclosure was renovated and a few males were kindly given to us from Wildwood Trust, in Kent. We hope to be a part of the UK Conservation Programme in the future.