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Bank Vole

Sunday, 3rd August 2003, West Yorkshire

bank vole

We're surprised to the see a bank vole so active, running around the patio by the tub under the bird table in the bright morning sunlight at breakfast-time: volea quick whiz by is usually all we see.

Mice and voles can be a bit confusing, so here's a list of the characteristics of the bank vole:

  • The ears are clearly visible (half hidden in the field vole)
  • Tail half as long as body (shorter in the field vole, longer in a mouse)
  • Adults red brown (this must have been a young one: it had light brown fur)
  • 3 1/2 inches long, one ounce (28 grams) weight
  • After the wood mouse it is probably Britain's most abundant small rodent
  • Found in wood, hedges, scrub and gardens (field vole prefers grassland but also likes hedgerows)
  • Also known as the common vole (field vole is also known as the short-tailed vole and was also sometimes referred to, erroneously, as the short-tailed field mouse)
  • Latin name: Clethrionomys glareolus (also known as Microtus arvalis)
  • Eats: hazelnuts, seeds, berries, green plants and fungi.
  • Eaten by: kestrel, fox, tawny owl and cat next page

vole with young

vole babies in nest


hazel nut


tawny owl

Richard Bell