Do you know a rat from a vole?

The hated rat (above left) is a cousin of the harmless water vole (right), but while the rat always thrives, the water vole is the UK's fastest declining animal.

Fleet Pond Society would like reports from anyone who spies a vole (or any other interesting animal or bird) at the nature reserve, including the date and time. Ring Peter and Barbara Martin on 01252 684828.

The voles live along lakes, rivers, ditches and streams, feeding on vegetation.

Preyed on by mink and suffering the loss of riverbank habitat, their numbers have fallen dramatically. The pond society is also concerned that people may be poisoning voles, mistaking them for brown rats.

To help people tell the two apart, they have provided this illustration. If you only get a quick glimpse, the best way of telling which is which is the tail. Rats have long pink tails and voles have shorter, furry tails.