Water Vole - Arvicola amphibius

Alternative names
Formerly Arvicola terrestris

Water Voles have a short hair-covered tail, a blunt, rounded nose, and a small chubby face with small ears. They have a rich chestnut-brown coat, but individuals in Scotland often have black fur. The fur traps air that provides thermal insulation when swimming, and they also possess flaps of skin in the ear that prevent water from entering.

Identification difficulty

Densely vegetated banks of slow flowing rivers, ditches, lakes and marshes where water is present throughout the year.

When to see it

All Year Round

Life History

Water voles are herbivores, feeding on a huge variety of waterside vegetation and consuming 80 percent of their body weight each day. Each year between April and September, one to five litters consisting of three to seven blind, naked pups can be produced.

UK Status

Rapid decline over decades has made the Water Vole much scarcer in Britain than previously.

VC55 Status

Uncommon in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map