This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
The Water-Vole certainly does considerable damage to embankments of streams, ponds and reservoirs, hence an enemy of riparian owners, and being a great traveller in quest of food is injurious to forester, farmers and gardeners practising in the vicinity of its haunts. Of course, it cannot be tolerated in watercress beds, and is equally objectionable in those of osiers, while in nurseries in proximity to streams it often does serious harm by cutting the roots and in barking the stems of ligneous plants. Indeed, sportive and amusing as Microtus or Arvicola amphibia may be to the waterside stroller, the cultivator can have no respect.
Fig. 93. - Musk Rat Trap set for Water Vole.
The water-vole may be captured in the ordinary Small Dorset Vermin Trap with 3-in. jaws, but better by the Musk Rat Trap (Fig. 93) as occupying less room, set in water-level runs or even in those below the water under the side of the bank, concealing the trap by freshly-cut herbage similar to that growing on the bank or in the water, duly securing the trap to a peg by a long chain so as to give the victim opportunity of taking to the water and being held there by the weight of the trap and quickly drowned. The water-vole, having short legs, sometimes escapes capture when an ordinary 3-in. jaws vermin trap is used, even a Musk Rat Trap with 4½-inch jaws either missing the legs or enabling the animal to escape minus a limb or two; but generally the vole is caught by the body, especially in the larger traps (5 or 6 in. jaws), and killed at once. Sometimes bait is used on the table such as a raw potato, the trap being so set that the bait is about half out of the water, but the trap carefully concealed.
In bank runs the Kentish Mole Trap proves very effective, setting at some distance inside the land entrance to the holes.
Fig. 94. - Solid Ground Pitfall Trap for Voles.
References: n, open mouth; 0, under-sloping sides; p, pit bottom.