We are now monitoring water voles on the reserve. Water voles were once common mammals in British waterways but their numbers have declined by over 90% due to habitat loss and predation by the non-native American mink.
The Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT) is working to conserve and enhance water vole populations in Hertfordshire. They are surveying sites around the county regularly, improving habitats and reintroducing water voles as well as controlling mink populations. Many sites are surveyed including Stocker’s Lake, the River Colne and Springwell Lake.
Water voles are about 20cm in length with a tail of 11cm. They have a reddish brown coat in summer which can be a little darker in the winter. They have a rounded face and nose and small, rounded ears which do not protrude above the fur. Water voles can be mistaken for the brown rat although the rat is usually larger.
Information on water voles including appearance, how to identify them, signs and how you can help can be found at www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/species/water-vole