Close up of a water vole perched on some water weeds eating a berry.
Water Vole
Scientific Name:
Arvicola amphibius
They are covered with chestnut brown fur and have small ears, rounded noses and furry tails.
Up to 22cm in length with a 14cm tail and up to 300g in weight.
Preferred habitats:
0.5-1.5 years


Start breeding in spring and have three or four litters a year, each litter containing up to five young.


Where do they live in the Forest?

Along the rivers, streams and ditches that run through the forest. 


Natural predators

Mink, owls, pike, foxes, birds of prey, otters and rats.


Spotting tips

Water voles generally sit and eat in the same place so keep an eye out for nibbled grass stems near the waters edge. Latrines of rounded droppings can also be a giveaway.


Not to be confused with

Brown rat. The Brown rat is larger with greyer fur and a pointed nose.


Conservation status

Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Water Voles are listed as a priority species on the UK Biodiversity Framework.


How you can help

Water voles are under serious threat from habitat loss and predation from the introduced American mink. One way you could help is to become a Friend of the Forest and support our work creating and maintaining habitats for wildlife.