With their small ears buried in fur, their blunt faces and short tails, water voles look quite different from mice, which have pointy faces, big ears and long tails

The water vole is much larger than its cousins, the bank vole and field vole, and can sometimes approach half a kilo in weight. It burrows into the banks of rivers and streams, eating grasses, rushes, sedges and aquatic vegetation. Often it consumes the equivalent of three quarters of its own bodyweight daily. Although individuals defend their stretch of riverbank during the breeding season, they are sociable animals, dropping antagonisms and sharing nests in winter. In fact numbers can build up to high levels in summer.

However in Wales as elsewhere in Britain, their distribution has shrunk in recent years, giving them the unenviable title of fastest declining mammal and making this elusive and delightful creature a priority for conservation action. Bodfuan Shoot is taking part in a program with BASC & CCW to trap and humanely dispatch the water Vole’s main predator, the Mink which is not a natural inhabitant of the UK.