Voles in the garden?

Vole (also: water vole)

Arvicola Terrestris )

main vole


  • The body of the vole/water vole is between 12 and 22 cm long. The tail is slightly shorter than half the length of the body.
  • It weighs 60 to 180 g.
  • The vole can be easily distinguished from the house mouse due to its compact, plump physique and the relatively large and broad head and short tail.


  • The mating season of the vole/water vole is mainly between March and October.
  • The wearing time (all types) is about three weeks.
  • The females give birth to 3 to 8 young per litter. There are 3 to 6 litters per year.
  • There are about eight weeks between birth and sexual maturity.

Way of life

  • The vole/water vole prefers fresh, moist soil, ditches, brook banks, embankments, extensively used meadows and grassy young crops (gardens, orchards, vineyards) as their habitat.
  • There it lives in widely ramified duct systems just below the surface and causes burrowing damage.
  • The vole feeds on parts of plants such as roots, tubers and vegetables.
  • She is good at swimming and diving.
  • The vole/water vole is active during the day and night. She does not hibernate.

Meadow vole

Microtus pennsylvanicus )



  • Meadow voles are small rodents with short legs and short tails.
  • When fully grown, they reach a size of approx—16 cm.
  • Their fur is chestnut brown and turns greyish in winter.
  • The front feet of the meadow voles have four toes, the hind legs five.
  • They have a round nose.


  • The mating season of meadow voles extends over the whole year.
  • The females throw up to 5 times a year.
  • Each litter contains about five young.
  • Meadow voles live for about a year in the wild. They can get older in captivity.

Way of life

  • Meadow voles occur all year round. In summer they can be seen mostly at night, in winter more during the day.
  • They feed on grasses and seeds and often also on tree bark in winter.
  • As a place to stay, meadow voles prefer open fields and moist meadows with high vegetation.
  • They live in underground structures.
  • They build their nests out of the grass; in winter, their nests are above ground and often snow.