Science KS1 & KS2: How have water voles adapted to live near the water?

Chris Packham uses a man-made burrow to investigate water voles, which are one of the rarest burrowing animals in the UK and an endangered species.

He explains how they like to spend a lot of time in the water and that their burrows can sometimes be seen in the muddy banks of rivers.

He also describes how they have built defence features into their burrows, like underwater entrances and swamped U-bends, to protect them from predators.

Baby water voles (pups) are born underground, but at 14 days, they must learn to swim.

Chris explains how the waterproof fur enables them to dry quickly and that, unlike other aquatic mammals, water voles do not have webbed feet.

When the water voles are outside, they stay out of sight of predators in covered runs, hidden under the long grass.

This clip is from the series The Burrowers.

Teacher Notes

You could ask the class if they can name any endangered species and/or ones that are now extinct?

Do they know of any endangered species here in the UK?

You could get the class to produce posters or leaflets that focuses on an endangered species and what is being done to conserve them.

Curriculum Notes

This clip is relevant for teaching Science at KS1 and KS2 in England, Northern Ireland and Wales and at Early and 1st Level in Scotland.

More from The Burrowers:

How do badgers keep clean?
How do badgers live underground?
How have moles adapted to live underground?
How do rabbit babies live underground?
What is a rabbit warren like?