Meadow (Longtail) Vole
Description: Meadow voles can have different colors in their fur, depending on where they live. They have stocky bodies with usually yellowish brown or reddish brown shaggy fur, peppered with black. Their eyes are noticeable and beady, while their ears are hard to see. They also have a long, dark tail and they are fairly small, usually not more than seven or eight inches long. Many people confuse voles with mice because you can find the two animals in similar areas, but they are different species. The best way to tell the two apart is to look for the ears. If the rodent has noticeable, larger ears, it is probably a mouse. Meadow voles may seem insignificant in nature's scheme of things, but are the key to survival of many wild predators including weasel, foxes, and birds of prey.
Voles, courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Habitat: Meadow voles love to live in lush, grassy fields. They will also live in marshes, swamps, woodland glades, and mountaintops. Voles are active day and night the entire year. They construct a complex tunnel system with surface runways and numerous burrow entrances. A single tunnel system may contain several adults and young.
Food: Voles eat mostly green vegetation and tubers (where plants store nutrients), including grasses and clover. Voles create a vast system of underground tunnels, where they can reach plant roots and pull the plants inside their tunnels to munch on them. Voles eat almost their own weight daily!
Fun Facts: Voles have short life spans, ranging from two to sixteen months.