Water voles caught on film using hidden cameras

Last updated at 07:21
To enjoy the CBBC Newsround website at its best you will need to have JavaScript turned on.
See the footage of the voles.

A new colony of water voles has been captured on film using a hidden camera at a canal lock in Wiltshire.

The camera was set up by ecologists to see how the animals behave, it is triggered by movement and heat so when the voles turned up it started filming.

The nationally-protected species is one of the UK's fastest declining mammals.

The evidence of a new colony is good news for conservationists who are trying to boost the numbers of the rare voles in the area.

Laura Plenty from the Canal and Rivers Trust said:

"I couldn't believe it when we captured our first footage of the water vole,"

"Viewing the footage of the vole proves that this hard work has been worthwhile."

"The fact that there's a new colony of voles living on the canal is the best reward we could ask for."

Falling numbers

A survey released by the Environment Agency and wildlife trusts in September, suggested that water voles had decreased by a fifth in the UK since 2011.

Reasons for the declining population include habitat loss, predation by American mink and changeable weather.

Water voles

•Live in holes or burrows

•Grow between 5-8in (12-20cm) long

•Usually have dark brown fur

•'Ratty' from Wind in the Willows was a water vole