Friday, 11 March 2011

Ecology and surveying of water vole

Also known as water rates, water voles have a blunt nose and are rat-sized. They mostly have black or brown fur and short rounded ears with a tail covered with hair. It is said that a water vole is about 140-220mm in length and has a tail 95-140mm. Its weight varies from 150-300g. They survive by eating grasses and other vegetation found on the waterside. They hardly have a five months life span. Though there are a few species that are found with a lifespan of 2 and half years.

According to ecological consultants water voles are found throughout Britain. They are available on a large range in the northern parts of Scotland and are absent in Ireland. They are mostly found on water sides. They occur on a large scale in vegetated banks and on the water regions like lakes and rivers. This is the reason why it is named as water rats. When discussed about these species it was said that water voles are more active during the day time than at night. A male water vole lives along 130 meters of water bank whereas females live along 70 meters.

Studies say that Water voles mostly have three - four debris a year. But this completely depends on the weather as the first among them can be born in the months of March or April. But under cold conditions the breeding can delay upto May and even June. They take birth under a nest in the ground. These nests are mostly made from grasses and rushes. When born these voles are found to be hairless and blind. But they have a quick growth and are said to be weaned in a period of 14 days.

Water voles are said to be harmless but it Britain they at times destabilize river banks. They are found to be quite different on continents.