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.