Endangered water voles on display at Welney Wetland Centre

Endangered ‘Ratty’ comes out to play. WWT, Water vole

Endangered ‘Ratty’ comes out to play. WWT, Water vole - Credit: Archant

VISITORS are encouraged to catch a glimpse of the treasured water voles at the Welney Wetland Centre.

Since the 1970’s, largely due to habit destruction and predators, water voles in the UK underwent one of the most dramatic declines seen in a mammal species.

But at the centre, run by Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, water voles (informally known as water rats) be seen collecting shoots of reed, grass and pond weed from the water’s edge and munching away on their feeding platforms.

Samantha Lee, public engagement officer for WWT Welney Wetland Centre, says: “It is amazing to think that these wetland mammals have made their home on a recreated wetland.

“This shows how important ponds are for encouraging wildlife back from the brink.

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“So often you go out to survey for these animals and are happy just to see signs that they are in the area, which is usually poo! So it is brilliant to actually get the opportunity to see them.

“It is virtually guaranteed water vole sightings; you don’t have to wait long at all to see these marvellous little characters.”

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The centre will be running water voles walks in June to show visitors how to spot the signs that water voles are present before seeing them in person.

Water voles have rounder noses than rats, deep brown fur, chubby faces and short fuzzy ears. Unlike rats their tails, paws and ears are covered with hair.

Walks run Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the month of June more information can be found at http://www.wwt.org.uk/visit/welney/whats-on/2013/06/01/water-vole-walk/ .

The visitor centre and reserve are open daily from 9.30am – 5pm.

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