Water voles and Mountains.

31st January 2012
'Ratty' has a head for heights on Beinn Eighe - Scottish Natural Heritage
The enigmatic water vole may be associated with our water and river systems but scientists have revealed it is it thriving almost 700 metres up a Scottish hill.
Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve in Wester Ross managed by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is home to some of Britain's rarest wildlife. And a recent survey of water voles found the inhabitants quite happily defining territory at that altitude. Water voles population has crashed by 94% over the past 50 years. However the Scottish Highlands are considered a stronghold for water voles, which are genetically distinct from their English and Welsh cousins and often have black, rather than brown, fur.
The survey was carried out last October by Highland-based consultants Waterside Ecology. Doctor Lorna Brown, who led the team, said: "We found signs of 19 different water vole colonies across the reserve, and it seems that the population on Beinn Eighe is in good health. One colony was living in a small patch of grassland the size of a dining table nearly seven hundred metres up the mountain. The voles would have had to travel hundreds of metres over rocky terrain to search this out."