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Water vole

Water vole

Z918/0119

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Credit

ANDY HARMER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANDY HARMER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Water vole (Arvicola terrestris) feeding by a river bank. Water voles are mostly herbivorous, but in winter they may supplement their diet with water snails. They inhabit a region from western Europe through Siberia to southwest Asia. Water voles are one of the largest types of voles, with males growing up to 22 centimetres in length. In Britain their population has declined due to decreased habitat and the introduction of the American mink, which preys on the vole. Conservation efforts are under way to protect them, but these are complicated by the vole's relatively short lifespan of 5-6 months.

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