||Usually brown or grey
||Compact with stocky bodies, short legs and tails
||4 – 8 ½ inches in length, depending on the species
||Found in most regions of the U.S. except the Plains and southern-most states.
Voles, also called meadow mice or field mice, are rodents with
small eyes and partially hidden ears. Their underfur is generally
dense and covered with thicker, longer guard hairs. There are 23
species of voles in the U.S., including the prairie vole, meadow
vole, long-tailed vole, woodland vole, Oregon vole and California
Voles are active day and night, year-round. They do not
hibernate. Voles eat plants, especially grasses and seeds, as well
as bark, crops, insects and animal remains. Voles can have between
one and five litters per year, with an average of five young in
each litter. Vole population levels fluctuate and generally peak
every two to five years. Dispersal, food quality, climate,
and physiological stress all influence population levels.
Voles construct tunnels with numerous burrows entrances. A
single burrow system may contain several adults and young.
Voles can cause extensive damage to orchards, tree plantings,
and field crops. Voles eat crops and also damage them when they
build extensive runway and tunnel systems. Voles also can ruin
lawns, golf courses and ground covers. Voles rarely come in contact
with humans and therefore pose no major public health hazards;
however, they are capable of carrying disease organisms, such as
plague and tularemia.