Field Vole

Microtus agrestis

  1. Wildlife
  2. Mammals
  3. Field Vole

About

The Field Vole (also known as the short-tailed vole) is very common in grassland, heathland and moorland habitats. Field Voles eat seeds, roots and leaves, and, further up the food chain, form an extremely important part of the diet of many predators, such as Kestrels, Weasels and Barn Owls. They spend much more of their time in runs and burrows than Bank Voles, so are less likely to be seen. Field Voles can have three to six litters a year, of up to seven young each.

How to identify

Voles can be distinguished from mice by their rounder faces, smaller ears and eyes and shorter tails. The Field Vole is often a greyish-brown or yellowish-brown colour with a pale grey underside. Its tail length is approximately 30% of its body length, thus giving it its' name.

Where to find it

Widespread, absent from most of the Channel Island, the Isles of Scilly, most Scottish islands, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Although common, if Field Vole numbers decline, other species higher up the food chain, such as owls, Kestrels and Weasels, may suffer. The loss and fragmentation of our woodland, field margin and hedgerow habitats could pose a threat to the Field Vole. Working with farmers and landowners to ensure wildlife-friendly practices, The Wildlife Trusts are working towards a Living Landscape: a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

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Species information

Common name
Field Vole
Latin name
Microtus agrestis
Category
Mammals
Statistics
Length: 13cm plus a tail of 4cm Weight: 18-60g Average lifespan: 1 year
Conservation status
Common.