Friday, 21 August 2015

Water Vole (Campagnol terrestre) at Rutland Water

25 July 2015

     During our visit to Rutland Water we were very lucky to see a European Water Vole Arvicola amphibius, the United Kingdom's fastest declining mammal.

     This animal, sometimes called a Water Rat, although only superficially resembling a rat, has a life span of a mere five months. It lives in burrows along the banks of rivers, but also in dense reed beds where it will build a ball-shaped nest. It was in the latter habitat where we observed the animal.

     It is an expert swimmer and diver and we witnessed its ability in this regard.

     It feeds voraciously on a range of aquatic vegetation although, interestingly, it has been proven to feed on frogs from time to time. This is perhaps to compensate for a lack of protein in its usual vegetarian diet.
     I was not in a good position in the hide to get any decent shots, but Miriam did much better from her vantage point and these photographs are hers.
     We certainly considered ourselves fortunate to be present when this delightful little creature decided to make an appearance.


  1. Hi David,
    such a pretty rat with fabulous coat. Wonderful impressions !
    Best regards, Synnöve

  2. These used to live in the small stream in the woods near where I grew up. Sadly the woods have all but disappeared and the voles left a long time before that...............

  3. Thank you for sharing Miriam, great pictures.
    Have a nice weekend.
    Gr Jan W

  4. A number of interesting facts there David. To my shame and as one who lives in the UK, I knew little of that. You are so right about watching a Merlin hunt - perhaps as wonderful as watching a Peregrine. Each in their own way a superb experience.

  5. Photographs?????????????????????????????? They are beautiful, the best so far David.

  6. This was also a great moment for me during your visit, David. Miriam really nailed it with those shots - they knock mine into a cocked hat!

    My very best wishes to you both - - - - Richard

  7. Preciosas imagenes.. Enhorabuena y un saludo..

  8. I think they are great photos! So the American Mink is partly to blame as are the human water management operations. Hopefully, this little critter has a chance to rebound again.

  9. Wonderful photos of this cute critter!

  10. I find it very interesting to see a water vole. Fortunately, you could photograph it. I have a coypu in the picture but I still have places. Yours pictures I have enjoyed very much :-)