Vole Patrol - Searching for London's smallest mammals

Vole Patrol Pygmy Shrew (Credit Phil Winter)Vole Patrol Pygmy Shrew (Credit Phil Winter)

Investigating how small mammals such as mice, shrew and vole are faring in west London

The Vole Patrol project finished surveying for small mammals in 2017. A report analysing the results will be published shortly. Our thanks to the many volunteers who helped support the project, and to National Lottery Heritage Fund for funding this groundbreaking work.  

Anecdotal evidence suggests mice, shrew and vole may be in decline in their woodland habitats, which in turn could have serious knock-on effects for predator species such as stoat, weasel, owls and other birds of prey.

The Trust trained 25 volunteers in specialist monitoring techniques to help survey populations of wood mouse, yellow-necked mouse, common shrew, pygmy shrew and bank vole at eight woodland habitats in west London. 

None of these small mammals are currently listed as conservation priorities, although shrews are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act. Urban development is suspected of putting increasing pressure on their habitats, and other factors, such as predation from domestic pets, may also be impacting on their survival. Food availability (seeds and fruits for mice and bank vole, invertebrates for shrews) is crucial to their lives.

Small mammals in the spotlight

Vole Patrol Yellow necked-mouse


The yellow-necked mouse is slightly larger than wood mouse. These expert climbers are at home in established woodland. 


Vole Patrol  Wood Mouse


The wood mouse, our most common rodent, is an inhabitant mainly of woodland and fields.


Vole Patrol Bank Vole


The bank vole is the smallest of Britain’s voles, with a characteristic chestnut coat and cream/grey belly.


Vole Patrol Common Shrew


The common shrew is smaller than the bank vole and is a highly active insectivore. Like most small mammals it has a very short life expectancy - less than a year.

Vole Patrol Pygmy Shrew


The pygmy shrew is active by day and night and is very territorial. Their high pitched squeaks can sometimes be heard when they are fighting. 

About National Lottery Heritage Fund


Heriitage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.heritagefund.org.uk @HeritageFundUK


Image credit to all photos: Phil Winter and Margaret Holland