The Kid Should See This

Searching for Water Voles

Have you ever seen a water vole? Do you think you might be able to spot one along the river banks? Maddie Moate recently tried to spot Arvicola amphibius in Norfolk’s Hickling Broad with the help of warden John Blackburn. Will they find one? From

Water voles leave characteristic tracks in mud close to the water. The forefoot has four toes which leave a distinctive star shaped pattern, while the hind has five toes with the first and fifth toes leaving prints almost at right angles to the three central toes.

Often found in latrines (piles of droppings). Odourless, even consistency (owing to vegetarian status) and usually with rounded tips, about the size of tic-tacs!

Water voles latrines are created as part of a territorial behaviour where a vole will revisit the same area over and over again to deposit its droppings. Because latrines are associated with territorial behaviour, they can be a really good indication to the number of voles using a stretch of bank…

They have extremely characteristic feeding habitats and will leave neat piles of vegetation with all of the ends cut at a 45 degree angle. You can also find stems cut at an angle that are still growing out of the ground.

Moate’s video adventure is a part of Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s #9for90, a look at nine charismatic Norfolk species in celebration of the Trust’s 90th anniversary.

TIL: ‘Ratty’ from Wind in the Willows was not a rat. Know your vole.

In the archives: A naked mole rat, baby capybaras, and a furry little rodent version of a Tyrannosaurus Rex: The Jerboa.

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