The largest species of vole in Britain, the European Water Vole is sometimes confused with a Brown Rat, who inhabit the same environment. Within their burrows, Water Voles, are known to create escape paths in case of predator attack.


Water Voles live in most European counties with the primary exceptions of Portugal and Spain. They live by riverbanks.


A herbivorous creature the water vole feeds on riverside plants and leaves. Very occasionally they feed on insects and other small invertebrates.

Predators & Threats

Their approximated range has dropped by about 90% in Britain due to habitat loss and degradation of riverside habitats. Like many small mammals, the water vole is preyed on by foxes, large birds, stoats, minks, owls and otters. In the Scottish highlands golden eagles also pose a threat.


  • They will consume upto 80% of their body weight daily.
  • Water voles mark their territory during breeding season using their green droppings.
Common Name(s)Scientific Name
Water Vole, European Water Vole, Northern Water Vole, Water Rats, Water DogsArvicola amphibius
 33 cm (including tail)
One and a half years.

Best Time to Look

During breeding season, which is April to September

Where to find European Water Vole