Meadow voles are most abundant in the open field and shrub ecosystems of early successional stages of disturbed ecosystems. View Terms of Use. Home ranges overlap and have irregular shapes. What Kind Of Threat Do Meadow Voles Pose? They can cause damage to fruit trees, garden plants, and commercial grain crops. ), northern shrike (Larius borealis), black-billed magpie (Pica pica), common raven (Corvus corax), American crow (C. brachyrhynchos), great blue heron (Ardea herodias), and American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus). [15] and postnestling juveniles had the highest mortality rate (61%), followed by young adults (58%) and older age groups (53%). Voles are one of those challenging issues that gardeners and homeowners might encounter, along with moles, shrews, and mice. [3][12], Human diseases transmitted by microtine rodents include cystic hydatid disease, tularemia, bubonic plague, babesiosis, giardiasis[12] and the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. These movements enable dense, clumped populations to disperse evenly, generates an intense natural selection matrix via intraspecific competition for food and other resources, and also assists in the efficient mixing of genetic types (i.e. [23] with low tolerance for habitat variation (i. e., a species that is intolerant of variations in habitat, is restricted to few habitats, and/or uses habitats less evenly than tolerant species).[23]. Their range extensions were likely to be related to irrigation practices. Two common species of voles in North America are the prairie vole and the meadow vole. In: Hulbert, Lloyd C., ed. They occasionally consume insects and snails, and occasionally scavenge on animal remains; cannibalism is frequent in periods of high population density. The size includes their body and tail. Voles are rodents of the Northern Hemisphere, inhabiting North America, Europe and Asia. In tallgrass prairie at Pipestone National Monument, they were positively associated with dense vegetation and litter. [46] In these new open areas, the vole quickly becomes a food source for predators. [35], Nests are used as nurseries, resting areas, and as protection against weather. The reproduction cycle of voles is so fast it sounds unbelievable. [6] They are now common in hayfields, pastures, and along ditches in the Rocky Mountain states. intervals, with population declines in intervening years. [22] Meadow vole habitat devoid of tree cover and grasses dominated the herb layer. Toxoplasma gondii, Trypanosoma microti, rabies, Hantavirus, and Korean hemorrhagic fever are a few of the potential disease agents that have been detected in meadow vole individuals. [12] The American short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda) is a major predator; meadow voles avoid areas frequented by short-tailed shrews. Voles live on the surface of the ground, creating little round tunnels in grassy vegetation. It can be tricky to identify voles from mice; they look similar. [13] Most changes in activity are imposed by season, habitat, cover, temperature, and other factors. [43] Properly timed cultivation and controlled fires are at least partially effective in reducing populations. Meadow voles are capable of rapid, explosive reproduction. Vole vs. Negative impacts of this behavior may include an increased risk of predation, but the “wandering” voles have been shown to have an overall higher rate of both survival and reproduction. ), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), or ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests. It also digs burrows, where it stores food for the winter and females give birth to their young. Conclusion. Local patches of dense cover could serve as source populations or reservoirs to colonize less favorable habitats with sparse cover. You may know a vole by another name: field mouse or meadow mouse. Due to digging, Meadow voles contribute to aeration of the soil. [8] The variables important to meadow vole habitat in Virginia include vegetative cover reaching a height of 8 to 16 inches (20–41 cm) and presence of litter. )-snowberry (Symphoricarpos spp.) Meadow voles can carry a variety of potentially serious human pathogens. It digs characteristic volcano-shaped hills in the lawn. Weaning occurs from 12 to 14 days. Voles are primarily herbivores and will feed on the roots, bulbs, bark and seeds of many ornamental plants and grasses. [3] The maximum lifespan in the wild is 16 months,[11] and few voles live more than two years. Habitat patch shape did affect dispersal and space use behaviors. Voles, much like other small rodents, are never welcome guests in or around your home. Voles, on the other hand, have smaller eyes, ears and tails. Kingdom Animalia animal kingdom. Voles live outside in yards and stay near the ground. [3] In eastern Washington and northern Idaho, meadow voles are found in relative abundance in sedge (Carex spp.) In southeastern Montana, meadow voles were the second-most abundant small mammal (after deer mice, Peromyscus maniculatus) in riparian areas within big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)-buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) habitats. Sieg, Carolyn Hull. Meadow voles are also absent from fescue (Festuca spp. Meadow voles are most commonly found in grasslands, preferring moister areas, but are also found in wooded areas. This site is licensed under a Creative Commons License. [28] In New Mexico, meadow voles were captured in stands of grasses, wild rose (Rosa spp. Meadow voles make nests of piles of mixed grasses, sedges, and “weeds.” These nests can be located either above or below ground. associations. A meadow vole will often chew its way up through the center of a plant and kill it from the inside out. Meadow voles are usually the most abundant small mammals in northern prairie wetlands, often exceeding 40% of all individual small mammals present. Scientific Name: Microtus pennsylvanicus One of her young produced 13 litters (totalling 78 young) before she was a year old. Meadow voles are more widely distributed, but prairie voles are more common in prairie areas. Reich[3] listed the following factors as having been suggested by different authors: food quality, predation, climatic events, density-related physiological stress, and the presence of genetically determined behavioral variants among dispersing individuals. Add to that the fact that voles’ gestation period is 16 – 24 days, depending on the vole’s exact sub-species and external circumstances, and a female vole can have her first litter as early as the end of her first month of life. Range [38] Predator numbers are positively associated with meadow vole abundance. Predation and Disease In addition, a wide variety of snakes (including black snakes and hognose snakes), snapping turtles, bullfrogs, and even largemouth bass eat this incredibly abundant prey species. Minnesota has several species of vole, the most common being the meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) and the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogastor).How to identify and manage feeding from voles on lawns, trees and shrubs. Previously it was also found in Chihuahua, Mexico, but has not been recorded since 1998. [3] A threshold density of cover is thought to be needed for meadow vole populations to increase. In: Szaro, Robert C.; Severson, Kieth E.; Patton, David R., technical coordinators.   Diet prairie dominated by northern pin oak (Quercus palustris) and grasses including bluejoint reedgrass (Calamagrostis canadensis), prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata), big bluestem, switchgrass, and Indian grass. Voles are herbivores. ), have been reported in meadow vole diets. "Small mammals of the Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve, Windsor, Ontario". Voles: Voles have rounded ears and face, with a short tail. The average life of the smaller vole species is three to six months. [46] It prefers open, nonforest habitats and colonizes such open areas created by fire or other clearing disturbances. [4] Meadow voles are listed as riparian-dependent vertebrates in the Snake River drainage of Wyoming. The habitat preference varies based on the species, but many avoid densely forested regions. Meadow voles, the most common voles in Pennsylvania, are herbivores and eat a variety of grasses, seeds, and roots. The meadow vole has the widest distribution of any North American species of Microtus. [3] Almost all species of raptors take microtine (Microtus spp.) Fall, winter, and spring litters tend to be smaller than summer litters. (1988). June 30, 2014 In most areas, meadow voles clearly prefer habitat with dense vegetation. [3][12], Typical meadow vole litters consist of four to six young, with extremes of one and 11 young. ), Pacific giant salamander (Dicampton ensatus), garter snake (Thamnophis spp. Maximum size is reached between two an… [30] In west-central Illinois, they were the most common small mammals on Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)-dominated and switchgrass (Panicum virginicus)-dominated study plots. Edge effects in patches of this size were not found, suggesting meadow voles are edge-tolerant. The meadow vole is a common North American mammal that is widely distributed across this continent. [46] After disruptive site disturbances such as forest or meadow fires, the meadow vole's activities contribute to habitat restoration. [3], In winter, meadow voles consume green basal portions of grass plants, often hidden under snow. A vole is a small rodent that is the size of a mouse. Meadow voles will move from empty fields or uncultivated areas to adjacent lawns, gardens and landscaping in search of food and shelter. Litter size is not significantly correlated with latitude, elevation, or population density. ), wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), timothy (Phleum pratense), bluegrasses (Poa spp. Meadow voles only live for 1 to 1½ years in the wild and hardly any longer in captivity. [12] Over the course of a year, meadow vole populations tend to be lowest in early spring; the population increases rapidly through summer and fall.[12]. Tip. They also dig underground burrows where they construct food and nesting chambers. It is possible for a female meadow vole to have 12 litters a year in areas of mild climate. [12], In an old-field community in Quebec, plants preferred by meadow voles included quackgrass (Elytrigia repens), sedges, fescues (Festuca spp. Voles are known for creating underground tunnels and burrows that they use to store food inside of and this is also where they give birth to and raise their young. Meadow voles have to eat frequently, and their active periods (every two to three hours) are associated with food digestion. Their fur is generally thick and light brown to gray. Estimated mean longevity ranges from two to 16 months. Predators, particularly raptors, should be protected to keep meadow vole populations in check. They were also unable to distinguish between food and cover as the determining factor in meadow vole association with dense vegetation. The tendency of this species to “wander,” then, has some significantly positive consequences. When open grassy fields or meadows are not available, they are happy to accept pastures. A female vole will reach sexual maturity in around thirteen days – that’s less than two weeks. Its range extends farther south along the Atlantic coast. [11] The average time adults are recapturable in a given habitat is about two months, suggesting the average extended lifespan (i.e. avoids inbreeding). Voles can cause extensive damage when they move into our turf and landscaped gardens in search of food and shelter. They are frequently found in shoreline zones along rivers, and around ponds and lakes. The meadow vole is the most widely distributed vole in North America. In peak years, their population densities may reach 150 per acre in marsh habitat (more favorable for meadow voles than old fields). Males are usually six to eight weeks old before mature sperm are produced. Litter size was positively correlated with body size, and is not significantly different in primaparous and multiparous females. Meadow voles live in areas where there is cover from thick grass, landscaping, or other vegetation. Repellents are largely ineffective at present. Meadow voles stay well hidden between and under thick clumps of grass in grasslands, open forests, orchards, prairies and the edge of forests. There are few habitats that voles cannot survive in. Nests Meadow voles (particularly females) establish relatively fixed home ranges over areas of 0.1 to 1.0 acres. [7], In Pipestone National Monument, Minnesota, meadow voles were present in riparian shrublands, tallgrass prairie, and other habitats. [21] They are often restricted to the wetter microsites when they occur in sympatry with prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) or montane voles. Their high rate of ingestion of vegetable materials stimulates its decomposition and nutrient release. Depending on their species, voles thrive in a range … In the more northern parts of their range, breeding “only” extends from March to November, and, so, a maximum of only 8 litters is possible. Meadow voles create holes. Voles, also known as mice, live in field, forest, and shrub habitats. The more meadow voles you have, the more holes you're going to have. The young are born in a nest made of shredded grass, but most will not live long as the species is an important food source for numerous predators. These small, burrowing animals are best known for the harm they cause to turf and landscaping. Meadow voles live above ground whereas pine voles, like moles, live primarily underground. Do you have holes? ), and various forbs; meadow voles were also captured in wet areas with tall marsh grasses.[29]. Slash burning did not appear to affect meadow vole numbers about 1.5 years after treatment. They must eat their body weight in food every day in order to survive. Maximum size is reached between two and 10 months. Are they dangerous? ), and bird vetch (Vicia cracca). The meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) (which is also called the “meadow mouse” or the “field mouse”) is 5 to 7 inches long including its tail. [47], This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of Agriculture document: "Microtus pennsylvanicus" cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}. Young born in late summer continue growing through the fall and maintain their weight through the winter. Density was highest on plots with more forbs and grasses and less with woody cover; meadow voles preferred woody cover over sparse vegetation where grassy cover was not available. [27] In South Dakota, meadow voles prefer grasslands to Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) woodlands. The belly fur is lighter in color and is often silver or gray. This is particularly evident in males during the breeding season. [11][12], Meadow voles form runways or paths in dense grasses. Voles construct well-defined, visible tunnels, or \"runways\" at or near the surface, about two inches wide. Neonates are pink and hairless, with closed eyes and ears. [18] Numbers of short-eared owls, northern harriers, rough-legged hawks (Buteo lagopus), coyotes (Canis latrans), and red foxes were related to large numbers of meadow voles in a field in Wisconsin. [18] Voles (Microtus spp.) One vole's home range is usually no larger than 1/4 acre. … [26], In West Virginia, the only forested habitats in which meadow voles were captured were seedling stands. Voles prefer to live in low-lying or creeping vegetation and make trails through the grass or snow. A female meadow vole is reproductively mature at 20 days of age. They inhabit a range of habitats from grassy fields (and lawns) to open woodlands and marshes. // End -->. A vole can be the length of a Post-It note, about 3 inches, or as long as a pencil. Its range extends from central Alaska eastward and south across Canada and the United States all the way to the east coast. [11] Mortality was 88% for the first 30 days after birth,. Where Do Voles Live? [19][20] Meadow voles are most commonly associated with sites having high soil moisture. Find meadow vole information at Encyclopedia of Life; meadow vole. They also like to nest and live in fields next to lakes, ponds, streams, and swamps. In the fall and winter, they switch over to grains, seeds, bark, roots, and over-wintering fruits (they are said to be very fond of cranberries). Fur begins to appear by three days, and young are completely furred except for the belly by seven days. Eyes and ears open by eight days. [41] In central New York, colonization of old fields by trees and shrubs was reduced due to seedling predation by meadow voles, particularly under the herb canopy.[42]. Meadow voles may damage woody vegetation by girdling when population density is high. They also consume a variety of garden plants and eat the bark from trees. In eastern Massachusetts, meadow vole density on a mosaic of grassy fields and mixed woods was positively correlated with decreasing vertical woody stem density and decreasing shrub cover. ), yellow-bellied racer (Coluber constrictor flaviventris), gopher snake (Pituophis melanoleucas), rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis), and rubber boa (Charina bottae). Fur begins to appear by three days, and young are completely furred except for the belly by seven days. [33], In Ohio, the effects of patch shape and proportion of edge were investigated by mowing strips between study plots. In Michigan, strip clearcuts in a conifer swamp resulted in an increase in the relative abundance of meadow voles. Eyes and ears open by eight days. Voles are rodents and are about the same size as moles (4 to 6 inches in body length) with relatively large black eyes, small ears, a blunt face, and prominent orange front teeth for gnawing. They weigh 1 to 2 ounces and have a body covered with coarsely textured hairs that have a range of colors from yellow-brown to reddish-brown to a dark, black-brown. The square plots were 132 feet per side (40 m x 40 m), and the rectangular patches were 52.8 feet by 330 feet (16 m x 100 m). That’s why it’s important to learn how to get rid of voles. Hawks, owls, herons, crows, and blue jays along with skunks, weasels, cats, raccoons, and shrews all hunt and eat meadow voles. [12][44], Ecto- and endoparasites have been reported to include trematodes, cestodes, nematodes, acanthocephalans, lice (Anoplura), fleas (Siphonaptera), Diptera, and ticks and mites (Acari). Although these animals tend to live close together, they are aggressive towards one another. Ecological Impacts A typical vole litter has 5 to 8 baby voles in it but it could have … The average meadow vole lifespan is less than one month because of high nestling and juvenile mortality. In yards, voles dig burrows and create pathways of dead grass, called runways, in lawns. Voles do not hibernate and are active throughout the year. Normal population cycles do not occur when dispersal is prevented; under normal conditions, dispersers have been shown to be behaviorally, genetically, and demographically different from residents. In: Bragg, Thomas B.; Stubbendieck, James, eds. Animalia: pictures (7319) Animalia: specimens (3017) Animalia: sounds (165) Animalia: maps (42) Class Mammalia mammals. Osborn, Eric D.; Hoagstrom, Carl W. (1989). In: Black, Hugh C., ed. ); racers and voles often use the same burrows. These voles rarely live longer than 12 months. "A comparative survey of small mammal populations in various grassland habitats with emphasis on restored prairie". (1973). are frequently taken by racers (Coluber spp. [12] Neonates are pink and hairless, with closed eyes and ears. Young born in spring and early summer attain adult weight in 12 weeks, but undergo a fall weight loss. Females may mate almost immediately after giving birth, and, so, after weaning one litter (which takes 21 days), she may then have another. Step 6 Reset the traps until you no longer have any voles inside the house. Many predators consume meadow voles. The meadow vole, then, is a small but significant component of our Nature Trail ecosystem. Radiating out from these nests are networks of shallow burrows through which the voles run in search of food. [19] Above the threshold amount, the quantity of cover influences the amplitude and possibly the duration of the population peak. This site is licensed under a Creative Commons License. In years of average population sizes, typical meadow vole population density is about 15 to 45 meadow voles per acre in old-field habitat. We seldom see it as we walk along the trail, but the healthy trees around us and the abundance of larger fauna that rely on the vole for food are all evidence of its importance and place in this ecosystem. However, if they escape all predators, a vole can potentially live up to two years. On average, 2.6 young are successfully weaned per litter. The meadow vole is active year-round, usually at night. [11][12] In Canada, meadow voles are active the first few hours after dawn and during the two- to four-hour period before sunset.

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