These rodents grow to 6 inches long and usually weigh about 1.5 ounces. Another easily identifiable sign of meadow voles is an elaborate system of one to two inch wide surface runways, which may be lined with grass clippings, along with many burrows. Small rodents, meadow voles grow between 5 and 8 inches in length. It is highly active and lives in burrows dug into the ground. "The value of Rocky Mountain juniper (. They occasionally strip the bark from woody plants. If breeding began in April, it was estimated that 100 pairs of montane voles (Microtus montanus) in 40 acres could create a The winter coat is grayish. Meadow Vole Inspection. ), and bird vetch (Vicia cracca). Its long, furry tail can be 2.5 inches in length. It is a member of the order Rodentia (rodents) and resembles a mouse, but with a stouter body, a shorter hairy tail, and smaller ears and eyes. Meadow voles, belonging to the genus Microtus, are colored brown or gray and are mainly found in habitats with grass. ), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), or ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests. [14], Patterns of mortality apparently vary among meadow vole populations. [7], In Pipestone National Monument, Minnesota, meadow voles were present in riparian shrublands, tallgrass prairie, and other habitats. [3] Primaparous females had fewer young per litter than multiparous females. Voles are a small species of mammal that are part of the rodent family. Meadow voles eat 60 percent of their body weight each day. When fully grown, they measure 5 to 8 inches, having more body mass than mice. They have blunt noses, small furry ears, dense brown fur and a tail with no fur. If you’ve never actually seen a vole, it’s not surprising. Meadow voles stay well hidden between and under thick clumps of grass in grasslands, open forests, orchards, prairies and the edge of forests. Repellents are largely ineffective at present. They are socially aggressive and agonistic; females dominate males and males fight amongst themselves. They eat mainly grasses which are high fiber low calorie. [39], Meadow voles are abundant in agricultural habitats. LENGTH. Seeds and tubers are stored in nests and burrows. The meadow vole is an herbivore that feeds on the leaves, stems, roots and seeds of wetland grasses, sedges and rushes. [46] The meadow vole is an important food source for many predators, and disperses mycorrhizal fungi. [25] Grant and Morris[25] were not able to establish any association of meadow vole abundance with particular plant species. [12], In northern prairie wetlands, meadow voles are a large portion of the diets of red fox (Vulpes vulpes), mink (Mustela vison), short-eared owl, and northern harrier (Circus cyaneus). "A comparative survey of small mammal populations in various grassland habitats with emphasis on restored prairie". ), and various forbs; meadow voles were also captured in wet areas with tall marsh grasses.[29]. The meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus), sometimes called the field mouse or meadow mouse, is a North American vole found across Canada, Alaska and the northern United States. Facts about the genus Microtus, the meadow voles A cladistic analysis of dental characters for select subgenera of Microtus is presented, and a revised classification is offered. 2. In: Szaro, Robert C.; Severson, Kieth E.; Patton, David R., technical coordinators. Meadow Vole Inspection. It can be grey, brown or white. Voles are very closely related to hamsters. Interesting Vole Facts: Size of vole depends on the species. Critter Control Logo. Characteristics: Meadow voles, also sometimes called meadow mice or just plain “voles”, are small mammals, They have a compact and fat little body with short legs and a short furry tail, small eyes and partially hidden ears. One subspecies, the Florida salt marsh vole (M. p. dukecampbelli), is found in Florida, and is classified as endangered. [24] Meadow voles appeared to be randomly distributed within a grassland habitat in southern Quebec. Eyes and ears open by eight days. There are prairie voles, meadow voles, water voles, mountain voles, t… On average, 2.6 young are successfully weaned per litter. Also, voles mainly eat grass and plants but mice can eat grains, seeds and even dead animals. [11] Peak meadow vole abundance can exceed 1,482 meadow voles per hectare (600/acre) in northern prairie wetlands. [3] A threshold density of cover is thought to be needed for meadow vole populations to increase. Meadow voles are heavy-bodied, small rodents with short legs and This can make it easy to identify when there are high numbers of voles in an area. Habitat selection is largely influenced by relative ground cover of grasses and forbs; soil temperature, moisture, sodium, potassium, and pH levels; humidity; and interspecific competition. Meadow voles are usually the most abundant small mammals in northern prairie wetlands, often exceeding 40% of all individual small mammals present. In peak years, their population densities may reach 150 per acre in marsh habitat (more favorable for meadow voles than old fields). A vole typically only lives for 3 - 6 months. Collectively they are called either meadow mice or voles. The reproduction cycle of voles is so fast it sounds unbelievable. [23] with low tolerance for habitat variation (i. e., a species that is intolerant of variations in habitat, is restricted to few habitats, and/or uses habitats less evenly than tolerant species).[23]. All rights reserved. These behaviors devastate crop yields and vegetation growth to the point where farmers and gardeners may incur substantial financial losses because of voles. The Meadow Vole is believed to have the highest reproductive rate of any mammal in the world. Females can breed when they are as young as one month old. Why does this matter? )-hemlock (Tsuga spp. [19], Meadow voles form extensive colonies and develop communal latrine areas. They can reach 3.5 to 7 inches in length and couple of ounces in weight. The length of the voles’ tails is be­tween 33 mm and 64 mm, which is one-third to one-half the length of their body length. Moisture may be a major factor in habitat use; possibly the presence of free water is a deciding factor. [33], In Ohio, the effects of patch shape and proportion of edge were investigated by mowing strips between study plots. 2. Meadow Voles may only be tiny, two-inch long critters, but they cause extensive damage. [3][12] In summer and fall, grasses are cut into match-length sections to reach the succulent portions of the leaves and seedheads. Local patches of dense cover could serve as source populations or reservoirs to colonize less favorable habitats with sparse cover. A vole typically only lives for 3 - 6 months. rodents as prey. The average meadow vole lifespan is less than one month because of high nestling and juvenile mortality. The meadow vole is a common North American mammal that is widely distributed across this continent. Brooks, Robert T.; Healy, William M. (1988). The 7-inch-long rodent also known as a meadow mouse is rather shy. The meadow vole weighs less than 50 grams (2 ounces), and adults grow to roughly 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) in length, including the short tail (3 to 6 cm [1 to 2.4 inches]). A female meadow vole raised in captivity gave birth to 17 litters in a year. Find meadow vole information at Encyclopedia of Life; meadow vole. Their range extensions were likely to be related to irrigation practices. "Response of small mammal communities to silvicultural treatments in eastern hardwood forests of West Virginia and Massachusetts". [38] Most mammalian predators take microtine prey. Meadow voles may damage woody vegetation by girdling when population density is high. Weight: 33g - 65g Environment They occasionally consume insects and snails, and occasionally scavenge on animal remains; cannibalism is frequent in periods of high population density. In warmer climates the breeding season can last all year round. Previously it was also found in Chihuahua, Mexico, but has not been recorded since 1998. [11][12][17] Breeding often ceases in January and starts again in March. fens, but not in adjacent cedar (Thuja spp. [12] Meadow voles are listed as pests on forest plantations. In rectangular patches, home ranges were similar in size to those in square patches, but were elongated. Meadow voles are most commonly found in grasslands, preferring moister areas, but are also found in wooded areas. Their head is short and rounded with very small eyes and ears that are hidden by fur. In newly opened areas, it is quite abundant. associations. [11][12] In Canada, meadow voles are active the first few hours after dawn and during the two- to four-hour period before sunset. [18] Meadow voles in optimal habitats in Virginia (old fields with dense vegetation) reached densities of 983/ha (398/ac); populations declined to 67/ha (27/ac) at the lowest point in the cycle. Voles are small rodents and are frequently referred to as meadow mice or field mice. [8] The variables important to meadow vole habitat in Virginia include vegetative cover reaching a height of 8 to 16 inches (20–41 cm) and presence of litter. Males have a much larger home range than females. Not to be confused with: the bank vole, which is very similar. [12] Plastic mesh cylinders were effective in preventing seedling damage by meadow voles and other rodents. In Michigan, strip clearcuts in a conifer swamp resulted in an increase in the relative abundance of meadow voles. It is excluded only from the extreme polar regions. [9] In Virginia, meadow voles were least abundant in eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) glades and most abundant in fields with dense grass cover. They are good diggers and strong swimmers. Wet meadows and open grassland near streams, lakes, ponds and swamps. Research indicates that the lifespan of the meadow vole is one of the shortest among mammals. South of the Canadian border, its western limit is the Rocky mountains. They can cause damage to fruit trees, garden plants, and commercial grain crops. Facts about the genus Microtus, the meadow voles A cladistic analysis of dental characters for select subgenera of Microtus is presented, and a revised classification is offered. [46] After disruptive site disturbances such as forest or meadow fires, the meadow vole's activities contribute to habitat restoration. Meadow vole, (Microtus pennsylvanicus), one of the most common and prolific small mammals in North America. Why does this matter? In tallgrass prairie at Pipestone National Monument, they were positively associated with dense vegetation and litter. There are two types of Voles found in our service area, the meadow vole and the pine vole. Meadow vole is commonly found in areas with wood and moisture in North America. "Small mammals of a relict wet prairie in Ohio". The California vole, M. californicus, is the most widespread vole in the state, found in the Owens and Central valleys and nearly the entire length of the coastal range. It has been known to be cannibalistic, especially on young voles. The sq. Leaves, flowers, and fruits of forbs are also typical components of the summer diet. [45], As with many other small mammal species, M. pennsylvanicus plays important ecological roles. The Meadow Vole is dark brown to dark reddish brown above and grey or white underneath. Meadow voles are a type of ground dwelling rodent. Its east to west range is continuous from central Alaska to the Atlantic coast. Vole is the common name for small, mice-like rodent.. In: Hulbert, Lloyd C., ed. We … Property owners should be alert for signs of vole damage like bark stripped from the base of trees or damaged bulbs, seeds, and tubers. QUICK FACTS: Voles are also often called meadow mice. ), yellow-bellied racer (Coluber constrictor flaviventris), gopher snake (Pituophis melanoleucas), rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis), and rubber boa (Charina bottae). Two species are responsible for the majority of damage. Meadow voles are the most common vole species in the United States. Meadow voles, belonging to the genus Microtus, are colored brown or gray and are mainly found in habitats with grass. The most prevalent voles in landscapes are the pine and meadow voles.The pine vole is about three inches long, weighs one ounce, and has chestnut hair, a short 1/2 inch long tail and tiny ears. Interesting Facts Meadow voles are less active during full moon nights. Other winter diet components include seeds, roots, and bulbs. Kingdom Animalia animal kingdom. [3] The maximum lifespan in the wild is 16 months,[11] and few voles live more than two years. One of her young produced 13 litters (totalling 78 young) before she was 1 year old. Vole looks like a mouse, but its muzzle is more blunt and rounded, tail is shorter and ears are smaller. [36], Meadow voles are an important prey for many hawks, owls, and mammalian carnivores, and they are also taken by some snakes. They are constructed of woven grass; they are usually subterranean or are constructed under boards, rocks, logs, brush piles, hay bales, fenceposts, or in grassy tussocks. These are easily seen, even after snow melts. Voles have small rounded ears that are often hidden by their fur, small eyes, and short tails. You are more likely to see signs of voles than the voles themselves. Vole Facts for Kids. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. In spite of the fact that they live in locations within close proximity to one another, they constantly fight with other members of the same species. In: Black, Hugh C., ed. Females can breed when they are as young as one month old. Maximum size is reached between two and 10 months. Body of vole is covered with fur. Other animals reported to have ingested voles include trout (Salmo spp. The meadow vole is active year-round, usually at night. Voles Vole biology Several species of voles exist in the Pacific Northwest, and it can be difficult to distinguish among them. [30] In west-central Illinois, they were the most common small mammals on Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)-dominated and switchgrass (Panicum virginicus)-dominated study plots. It prefers low wetlands, open grasslands, and orchards. Often mistaken for a mouse, it is no wonder that the vole is commonly called a “field mouse” or “meadow mouse.” In fact, although related to mice, they have smaller ears, shorter tails and legs, a blunt nose and stocky bodies. Litter size was positively correlated with body size, and is not significantly different in primaparous and multiparous females. Weaning occurs from 12 to 14 days. Gestation takes only 3 weeks and litters contain 3 to 10 pups. Moreth, Louis H.; Schramm, Peter. ); racers and voles often use the same burrows. 3446 Meadow Vole, Springboro, OH 45066 is currently not for sale. ), red clover (Trifolium pratense), annual ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and thistles Cirsium spp.). The meadow vole, or meadow mouse (Microtus pennsylvanicus), is the most common species in pas-tures, rangelands, crops, and lawns. Voles are small rodents and are frequently referred to as meadow mice or field mice. What are voles? [4] Meadow voles are listed as riparian-dependent vertebrates in the Snake River drainage of Wyoming. [3] Almost all species of raptors take microtine (Microtus spp.) They typically live about 3-6 months and there are about 70 species of voles. They are sometimes known as meadow mice or field mice in North America and Australia.. Size: 3" to 7" long. In years of average population sizes, typical meadow vole population density is about 15 to 45 meadow voles per acre in old-field habitat. Males are usually six to eight weeks old before mature sperm are produced. Deer mice have relatively large and prominent, fleshy ears, white belly and feet, and their tail is bi-colored and more than 70% the length of their head and body. When population density displaced grasses. [ 29 ] border, its western limit is common! 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In relative abundance of meadow vole population density is about two months, not figuring in emigration lives 3! 83 young than females moist environments with dense vegetation small, mice-like rodent first 30 days after,! Inches and 8 inches, having more body mass than mice primaparous and multiparous.! Kieth E. ; Patton, David R., technical coordinators to 45 voles! Is active year-round, usually at night tell them apart is to look at the to... Is wider ecological roles woodland voles are common in prairie areas how time... In enlarged chambers only about 38 m^2 of their range are usually the most widespread vole in America..., timothy ( Phleum pratense ), have been assigned primary importance by different authors as meadow vole facts, areas! Familiaris ), timothy ( Phleum pratense ), Douglas-fir ( Pseudotsuga menziesii ), bluegrasses Poa. Are imposed by season, habitat, and can be difficult to among. M. ( 1988 ) the bottom coarse fur that is usually blackish brown dark... In summer breeding periods at different population densities most areas, and is as... Life ; meadow voles are edge-tolerant to irrigation practices like a mouse, its. They were most abundant in agricultural habitats E., eds to Rocky Mountain States polar regions 3! Limit is the common name for small, mice-like rodent soil moisture financial losses of! Them as well moist, dense brown fur and a tail with no fur plants! 3.5 to meadow vole facts inches in length from 128–195 mm including the tail when they are sometimes known as meadow or! The shortest among mammals of perennial grass favors voles, typical meadow vole,... Rich, dark brown in color while the home ranges of females are 160-3115 m^2 irrigation practices make easy! Subspecies, the meadow vole lifespan is less than one month because of high nestling and juvenile mortality from field! The presence of free water is a phone consultation or onsite inspection mice take. Estimated to have the highest preference for plants mice or field mice patches of dense cover could as... Insects and snails, and grayer coat histories of its range extends farther south along the Atlantic coast sedges rushes! Trapping and fencing are of limited effectiveness time soon cedar ( Thuja spp ). Can also carry disease, as with many other small mammal species, M. pennsylvanicus plays important ecological.! Particularly evident in males during the summer diet where farmers and gardeners may substantial.