Voles in the garden?
Vole (also: water vole)
( Arvicola Terrestris )
- 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.
( 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.