Identification and Description
Also called meadow mice or field mice, voles are small rodents that look a lot like mice with bulkier bodies. Usually brown or gray, voles have short stocky legs, and short tails. Their eyes are small and their ears partially hidden. There are currently 23 species of voles in the United States.
While they prefer areas with a lot of ground cover, such as grassy plants or even litter, voles occupy a wide variety of different environments. Although voles have “natural” habitats, they also thrive in habitats that are adapted by humans, like cultivated fields and orchards.
Diet and Feeding Tendencies
Even though voles consume a variety of plants, they most frequently seek out grasses and weeds. They store tubers, seeds, and bulbs in the late summer and early fall. When vole populations in an area are particularly high, they will eat crops, and occasionally include snails, insects, and animal remains in their diet.
Damage and Control
Because of their propensity for girdling (which is the stripping of bands of bark from trees), voles cause a great deal of damage to orchards, decorative shrubs, and tree saplings. This type of damage primarily happens in autumn and winter. Field crops like alfalfa, sugar beets and potatoes are often damaged or even totally destroyed by voles. Aside from eating crops they will additionally damage areas because of the extensive runway and tunnel systems they develop. Tunneling systems will interfere with crop irrigation and ruin lawns and golf courses.
Animal Control - Interesting Facts