Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Rodentia
Family Arvicolidae
Genus Arvicola
Species terrestris
Classification Linnaeus, 1758
Common name water vole
Size 13 - 16 centimeters. Tail: 8 - 14 centimeters
Male weight 240 - 380 grams
Female weight 225 - 300 grams

Geographic Range it is found in Europe (with the exception of western and southern France, Iberian peninsula and Greece) and in Asia.
Physical Characteristics rounded snout with small eyes and small hairy ears, long tail with no hair. Chestnut-brown fur, paler on the belly.
Behaviour it dives and swims very easily. Its den is a complex system of galleries, up to 40 meters long, with different rooms located at different levels on the banks of water ponds: there is usually an underwater exit so that the water vole can find a way to escape in case of danger. The hollows are employed as nests or food stores; the water vole can sometimes occupy the dens of the moles. Water voles are more active during the day; they live in colonies and they are territorial. In winter, when the amount of food at their disposal decreases, they become less active and spend most of their time underground. It is monogamous and both the male and the female are territorial.
Habitat they live in association to water environments (including ponds and marshes), they build their nests among beds of reed, in brackish areas, in plain and on valley floors.
Food habits it feeds mainly on the grass that grows on the banks of the sheets of water but also on gastropods and tadpoles.
Reproduction it usually has three or four clutches during the breeding season (which goes from April to September). During mild springs the first clutch can come to light in March-April, while, if the weather is bad, the birth of the young can be postponed until May or even June. Each clutch is made of 5 young, which after 22 days of pregnancy are born underground, in the nest built with grass and reeds inside the galleries. They come to light blind and naked, but they grow up quickly and they are weaned at the age of 14 days. The water voles lives in average until five years, even if some individuals may live until to 3 years.
Status in the lagoon it usually lives in the fishfarms, particularly in the area in which Phragmitetum is found: Dogà, Grassabò, Dragojesolo, Cavallino, Perini, Serraglia, Contarina, Cornio Alto, Figheri, Pierimpié, Ghebo Storto, Morosina, Millecampi) and in the "Casse di Colmata" (reclaimed areas).

References The Mammal Society
Staffordshire Biodoversity Action Plan
Parchi e Riserve naturali in Emilia Romagna
The Wildlife Trust - Royal Society for Nature Conservation
Guida alla natura nella Laguna di Venezia - di Giampaolo Rallo - Franco Muzzio editore
Web References http://www.abdn.ac.uk/mammal/
Source of the photo http://zoologie.forst.tu-muenchen.de/

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