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What do voles look like?

Surprisingly, voles look nothing like moles! Closely related to the hamster, voles share many of the same features, with brown and grey fur and short leg. They typically average 3-7 inches long, including the tail, and weigh in at about 2 ounces. To distinguish voles from the common mouse, voles have small, furry ears, very small eyes, and short tails. They have a blunt snout with chisel-shaped front teeth.

North America is home to a smaller variety of voles compared to their European cousins, with an average lifespan of 3-6 months, rarely living longer than a year in the wild. In captivity, these rodents can live to nearly three years of age.

vole identification

Characteristics of voles

Voles do not become active in a particular season, but are active at all times during the year, day and night. Non-hibernating creatures, voles are some of the most rapidly breeding rodents, producing between 5-10 litters per year with anywhere from 3-6 offspring in each litter.

Voles are semifossorial, meaning they live both above ground and in tunnels. Their burrows contain multiple entrances and may house multiple adults and offspring. The population of voles in one area can fluctuate from year to year, depending on access to food, environmental stressors, and predators.

Due to the vast number of voles across the globe, voles can differ quite drastically from one species to another. The European water vole can swim up to 50 ft. underwater, while the red tree vole is an excellent climber and can be found living in trees across the Northwest.

When are voles most active?

Very Active
Not Active

What are the habits of voles?

Voles are herbivorous, mostly consuming grasses and plants. However, voles can also consume the roots of your lawn, trees, and plants, as they make their way through their tunnels. Voles consume their weight in food everyday, gnawing away at their favorite vegetation until they kill the plant. You can often identify the presence of voles by their runway paths they leave on top of your lawn, often leading to the entrance of an underground tunnel system. The grass on their runways will be well maintained and free of obstacles, allowing them to quickly move from one entrance to another.

Where are voles commonly found?

Preferring plenty of ground cover, voles can be found in areas of dense grass and brush, like fields, meadows, woodlands, and along rivers and lakes. Their nests are underground, with a globe like center and multiple tunnels leading to entrances. Voles will store seeds in their underground chambers leading up to winter. To avoid being noticed when coming out of their nests, these entrances are also hidden in dense ground cover. Closer to homes, these entrances may be under shrubs, or everyday items that remain stagnant around the yard.

What do voles eat?

Voles eat the roots of trees and bark near the base of trees.

Are voles dangerous?

Voles pose no health risks to humans, as they rarely interact together. However, voles do pose a risk to your lawn, trees, and shrubs. By eating the roots of your trees and the bark near the base of the tree, voles can do significant damage to the health of your tree, causing a delay or total lack of fruit production.

How do I get rid of voles?

If you're dealing with a vole issue on your property, the best way to solve it is to contact a professional pest control company for help. At Miller Pest & Termite, we offer effective pest control services eliminate voles.  Reach out today for more information. 

How can I prevent a vole problem?

The best way to prevent a vole infestation is to make your property less attractive to these pests. Try cutting back brush, mowing regularly, removing woodpiles, and keeping shrubs trimmed up off the ground. You may also want to avoid putting mulch at the base of trees and other landscaping. 

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customer testimonial
Scott and Kent came out to access a rodent issue in my back yard. They very knowledgeable about the type of rodent and how to get rid of the problem. They were also very very professional and the customer service was the best I've seen in a very long time. I definitely will recommend them hands down! What an excellent job! Keep up the good work you two!!
Mike L. - Kansas City

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