Wildlife Detectives Wanted!

Help track down the water vole!

Filed under News
Date posted: Wednesday, 05 October 2016

A campaign has been launched to get everyone involved in tracking down an increasingly rare native resident - the water vole.

The largest of the British voles - the water vole has disappeared from more than 94% of its former habitat over recent decades, and now local authorities, wildlife trusts and volunteers across the UK are on a mission to ensure its survival.

Current records are sparse across our area so the South Lanarkshire Countryside and Greenspace team (CAG) is calling on residents to report any sightings to help build an accurate picture of numbers on the ground.

Flyers and posters with top tips how to spot a water vole have also been distributed, and include some facts that might make sighting one a little easier:

  • average 14-22cm long (not including their furry tail)
  • short, rounded body, blunt muzzle and small ears, almost entirely hidden in thick brown fur
  • live mainly along well-vegetated banks of slow flowing rivers, ditches and lakes
  • more active during the day than at night.

Malcolm Muir, the council's CAG Manager, said: “Cylindrical droppings are the most distinctive sign of the water vole and are deposited in clusters at discrete latrine sites at boundary ranges and where they leave/enter the water. Lawns of closely cropped grass, occasionally with piles of chopped food may surround burrow entrances.”

For more information on water voles or if you’d like to get involved with the survey, please go to the South Lanarkshire Countryside Rangers Facebook page and also the South Lanarkshire Biodiversity website.

If you already have sightings of water voles, please send your records to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the Ranger Service on 0303 123 1015.

The project is funded by the council and the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership.