Established in 2014, RammSanderson is licenced by Natural England to undertake Water Vole Survey and Mitigation Services across the UK to ensure the protection of Water Voles and their habitats.

Water Vole Ecology 

The Water Vole is a semi-aquatic animal which lives around ponds, lakes, marshes, reedbeds and areas of wet moorland. Water Voles are protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Like otters, they are legally protected in Britain. It is an offence to capture, kill, or injure a Water Vole. Likewise, it is also an offence to damage, disturb, destroy, or obstruct access to their resting or sheltering places – whether deliberately or by not taking care. 

Water Voles have been in long-term decline, disappearing from 94% of their former sites due to habitat loss, pollution, predation, and outbreaks of disease. A Water Vole Survey can assist in determining their current distribution, habitat requirements and the extent of potential threats to their declining population.

Water voles do not hibernate but may enter torpor (a reduced state of activity) from December to March. 

The activity of a Water Vole is confined to within 2-5m of the water edge. Colonies are spaced out along the watercourse. Depending on their age and life stage, territory can range from 30-300m, often expanding during the breeding season. 

Water vole

Survey Techniques and Methodology 

It is imperative for a comprehensive Water Vole Survey to be undertaken to establish their current distribution, assess their habitat suitability and identify any potential threats to their population.  

A Water Vole Survey can only be carried out in the months of April -September. During this time, our expert ecologists can identify the following: 


Individual droppings are rounded at the end (tic-tac shaped) and may be found in piles; they are also odourless and are a definitive indicator during a Water Vole Survey of their recent presence.


Front prints are star-shaped.

Feeding station

Comprised of neat piles of chewed lengths of vegetation, usually up to 10cm in length, and are chewed at a 45-degree angle, again are a clear indicator during a Water Vole Survey of their recent presence.


These are typically found along the water’s edge and on top of banks.

Like the Otter, if a water vole is found to be using your site, we can provide several Water Vole Survey, monitoring, and mitigation techniques. 

Water Vole Mitigation

Upon completion of a Water Vole Survey, our expert ecologists can assess the impacts of any proposed development work and any mitigation strategies which may be required where works within or close to the waterbody/banks cannot be avoided. 

Our experts can also conduct Natural England licencing where necessary.


Water Voles can be encouraged to relocate to a different area within the same waterbody by strimming the vegetation and maintaining it. However, this is only suitable for short sections of any affected habitat. This can also only be undertaken following a full Water Vole Survey and by ecologists such as RammSanderson who are licenced by Natural England.  


Following an initial Water Vole Survey, where it is identified that there is a large population of Water Voles, or where a significant area of bankside habitat will be affected, translocation may be appropriate.  Our team of experienced ecologists will identify a receptor site and implement a trapping scheme to relocate the Water Voles. Again, this can only be conducted by fully licenced ecologists such as RammSanderson.  

Why Choose RammSanderson for Water Vole Survey and Mitigation Services? 

With over 20 years of experience, our expert ecologists are licenced by Natural England to undertake Water Vole Survey and mitigation services.

Our services are guided by best practices and guidelines and Natural England Advice. Our expert ecologists also meet the competencies as set out by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management CIEEM.  

Water vole

RammSanderson has a team of experienced consultants ready to carry out Water Vole Survey and Mitigation Services. Get in touch today!