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Water voles
Temporal range: Early Pleistocene - Recent
Arvicola terrestris.jpg
Arvicola amphibius
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae
Subfamily: Arvicolinae
Tribe: Arvicolini
Genus: Arvicola
Lacépède, 1799

Arvicola amphibius
Arvicola sapidus
Arvicola scherman
Arvicola jacobeus

The water voles are large voles in the genus Arvicola. They are found in both aquatic and dry habitat through Europe and much of northern Asia. A water vole found in Western North America was historically considered a member of this genus, but has been shown to be more closely related to members of the genus Microtus (Conroy and Cook, 2000; Musser and Carleton, 2005).

Head and body length are 12–22 cm, tail length is 6.5–12.5 cm, and the weight is 70–250 g. The animals may exhibit indeterminate growth. They are thick-furred and have hairy fringe on feet that improves their swimming ability.



  • Conroy, C. J. and J. A. Cook. 2000. Molecular systematics of a Holarctic rodent (Microtus: Muridae). Journal of Mammalogy, 81:344-359.
  • Musser, G. G. and M. D. Carleton. 2005. Superfamily Muroidea. pp. 894–1531 in Mammal Species of the World a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder eds. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.
  • Nowak, R. M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Vol. 2. Johns Hopkins University Press, London.
  • Townsend, C., Begon, M. and Harper, J.L. 2003. Essentials of Ecology: second edition. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.