Scientific Name: Myodes glareolus. Syn. Clethrionomys glareolus.
English Name: Bank Vole.
French Name: Campagnol roussâtre (='reddish vole').
5 Key Characters:
- head and body 7 - 12 cm; tail 4 - 7 cm; weight 15 - 40 g.
- rounded body, small visible ears (not hidden in the fur), small feet, tail shorter than body (but relatively long for a vole, and clearly two toned).
- reddish fur on the back, greyish flanks.
- found in hedgerows and dense undergrowth.
- climbs well.
Lookalikes: all other voles, which don't have the reddish fur on the back, and do have ears hidden by fur and very short tails. Beginners may also mistake for mice, which have much larger more prominent ears and much longer tails.
Habitat: All warm dry wooded environments -- broadleaf and coniferous forests, hedges, parks. Especially places with dense undergrowth such as brambles, and disturbed ground with exposed plant roots or dead branches on the ground, where they feed on tree seeds, fruits and fungi. In winter they gnaw bark, often avoiding the snow by climbing small trees. Does not occur in really urban areas. Makes shallow burrows with many entrances/exits and nest chambers.
Active Period: Breed April - October, with multiple small litters each year. Life expectancy very short and few overwinter more than once. Active during the day so more frequently observed than other voles. Also active at night. Runs quickly, climbs and swims well. Quite bold and will sometimes enter buildings.
Status: Abundant and probably under recorded (possibly the most common species of vole). The population fluctuates markedly in response to the availability of food. Preyed on by owls, mustelids (martens etc), cats and foxes, although less important for owls than Field Voles, which live in more open habitats.
Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:
|In the grounds of the Chateau de Chaumont sur Loire.|