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Water Vole

water vole

Water voles excavate extensive burrow systems into the banks of waterways. These have sleeping/nest chambers at various levels in the steepest parts of the bank and usually have underwater entrances to give the animals a secure route for escape if danger threatens. "Lawns" of closely cropped grass, occasionally with piles of chopped food, may surround burrow entrances. Water voles tend to be active more during the day than at night. Male voles live along about 130 metres of water bank, while females have ranges about 70 metres long. They deposit distinctive black, shiny faeces in latrines. Latrines occur throughout and at the edges of their range during the breeding season.

Water voles usually have three or four litters a year, depending on the weather. In mild springs the first of these can be born in March or April, though cold conditions can delay breeding until May or even June. There are about five young in a litter, which are born below ground in a nest made from suitable vegetation, notably grasses and rushes. Although blind and hairless at birth, young water voles grow quickly, and are weaned at 14 days. Their most important predators are mink and stoats; though herons, barn owls, brown rats and pike are also known to take them.

Canon 1D MKIV Canon 500mm 1/100 F4.0 ISO3200
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