"Temporary Ponds: a natural habitat to be protected!"


> Southwestern water vole

Arvicola sapidus

It has a cylindrical shaped or fusiform body of medium size (up to 22cm long) and a short tail. The head is wide and the ears are rounded and small. The hair is thick and dark brown, with a lighter tone in the abdomen. It may weigh between 165 and 275g.

Behaviour and reproduction:

The reproductive activity happens during the wettest months of the year. It has a gestation period of 3 weeks and the litter have an average size of 6 offspring. It is a crepuscular species with higher activity in the first hours of the day and in the evening.  

It feeds on aquatic plants and grass.

It is found in the vicinity of water, in the margins of ponds, small lagoons or streams, in areas with thick herbaceous and shrubby vegetation. The burrows and nests in stream banks may have underwater access. In swampy areas it makes its nest in grass tufts above the water level. 

It is found in Portugal, Spain and Southern France. In Portugal, its populations are fragmented and little is known about its distribution.

The main threats to its conservation are the habitat destruction and the predation by wild and domestic species. According to the Portuguese Red List it has a status of 'least concern' however, various studies indicate a general population decrease and the isolation of subspecies.

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