Commonly called meadow mice, voles thrive in both grasslands and mountainous areas. They can be found throughout the United States and feed on a variety of plants. Their feeding habits damage growing trees, lawns, and gardens.
Tunnels in the grass? Mouse-like rodents in your shrubs and landscaping? Those scurrying little critters may well be voles.
Biology & Behavior
Voles, also referred to as meadow mice, are small mouse to rat sized rodents. They are pudgy, with blunt faces, small eyes, short ears, short legs, and a short tail. Eight species of voles are widely distributed throughout the various ecosystems of Utah.
Voles are adapted to digging and build many tunnels and surface runways with numerous burrow entrances. They are active throughout the day and do not hibernate in winter. Vole activity is closely tied to the grasses that are their primary food.
Voles can be reproductively active throughout the year. The average number of litters varies from 3 to 12, with the number of young varying from 3 to 6 per litter. Due to their active nature during winter, they are a valuable food source for owls, foxes, coyotes, and other predators.
Vole cause many types of damage. They feed on and girdle nursery stock, fruit trees, and ornamental plantings. They damage lawns by building runways under the snow. They also damage root crops, bulbs, and tubers. Most damage by voles occurs under the snow during the winter.