Voles may be small, but they are a force to be reckoned with. If these underground, fast-breeding varmints have ever invaded your lawn or garden, you know what we’re talking about. Voles may not be life-threatening and maybe no one has ever died from having them in their yard, but we’re betting the problem is front and center for those of you have had their lawns destroyed by these covert invaders.
It’s an undisputable fact that voles have exceptional burrowing and tunneling abilities. Just ask any homeowner who has experienced the misfortune of their garden destroyed by voles, or a tree killed by these destructive rodents. They’ll tell you.
Voles are small furry rodents that can be found throughout North America living in underground burrows. They measure four to seven inches in length with an average weight of one ounce. Grayish brown in color, voles’ distinguishing features include stocky, rounded bodies, blunt noses, relatively small eyes and flattened ears.
Voles are often confused with house mice due to their similar appearance. However, voles have far shorter tails and longer fur than their distant relatives. Voles are also commonly mistaken with moles and gophers due to the similar damage they wreak in lawns and gardens.
Voles are vegetarians, thriving primarily on plants, roots, grasses, tree bark, fruits and nuts. They are hearty eaters, consuming their weight in food every day. Voles like dining on succulent root systems and will burrow beneath ground cover and plants, gnawing away at the vegetation until they kill it. Bulbs, another favored food, are easily accessible to voles, thanks to their tunneling prowess.
Daily Amount: Up to 100% of its bodyweight
Daily Water: Primarily from moisture in food sources
Food Preferences: Roots, barks, grasses, stems, leaves, fruits and nuts
Voles can be found throughout North America in dense grassy fields, gardens, meadows, woodlands, along lakes and rivers and in agricultural areas. Voles make their nests in underground burrows around tree roots, ground cover and beneath fruit trees. From their nests, voles tunnel beneath the ground in their endless search for food.
Geography: There are over 150 species of voles throughout the world. The most commonly found voles in North America are the meadow vole, prairie vole, long-tailed vole, pine vole, montane vole and woodland vole.
Nest Location: Underground, just beneath the surface of the earth.
Home Range: Voles can be active on up to 1.5 acres of land.
Voles are the most prolific breeders in the rodent family. They can reproduce up to 12 times a year with an average of three to seven pups per litter. Translation? A female vole can birth more than 100 offspring in a single year.