Sunday, 28 September 2008

Little starry feet




I've posted before about the characteristic star-shaped footprints water voles often leave in soft mud. The second photo down shows the splayed toe formation of the hind foot very clearly (as modelled by "Spot").

6 comments:

JD said...

What wonderful photos and cute critters you've posted here. Your site was a real treat to stumble across. Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work! :-)

Kate said...

Thanks! We're coming up to the lean months - not much vole action ges on here between November and February - so I'm making the most of these last balmy days.

Linda said...

That's very interesting!
I still think he's a cute little critter, that I just want to cuddle with!
Have a Great Day!

kath said...

I've fallen in love with Spot, he's so cute. (Is it a he? Can you tell?)

Kate said...

I gather the way to sex water voles is to put them head-first in a Pringles tube and, while they're immobilized, have a look at the distance between their openings. So no, I've no idea whether Spot's male or female. Adult males have a slight ruff round their necks supposedly, but it's hard to appreciate such subtleties when you're out in the field. And anyway, Spot's only a youngster.

I've tried really hard not to anthropomorphize on this blog, or to cutesify the voles, but it's a struggle when they're such appealing creatures. Being realistic, the chances of Spot making it through to next spring are slim - winter mortality rates are extremely high - but we can always hope.

kath said...

Hoping Spot, and as many of the others as possible, make it. Will look out for a ruff or lack of one, in future photos, thanks!