The water voles are large voles in the genus Arvicola. They are found in both aquatic and dry habitat through Europe and much of northern Asia. A water vole found in Western North America was historically considered a member of this genus, but has been shown to be more closely related to members of the genus Microtus (Conroy and Cook, 2000; Musser and Carleton, 2005).
Head and body length are 12-22 cm, tail length is 6.5-12.5 cm, and the weight is 70-250 g. The animals may exhibit indeterminate growth. They are thick-furred and have hairy fringe on feet that improves their swimming ability.