Voles, otherwise known as meadow mice, are rodents, spending most of their time underground. When fully grown, they measure 5 to 8 inches, having more body mass than mice. Their tails and legs are short, with their body covered in black or brownish fur. Their head are round with a blunt snout. The upper side of their tail has a darker color than the lower side. Just like the mole, the vole has two set of tiny eyes buried in their body fur. People often mistake voles for mice. Though having similar physical appearance with mice, voles have shorter tail than mice, making it easy to differentiate it from mice.
Voles stay pretty much active at nights as well as in the day, being mostly active during evenings. Just like moles, voles construct extensive network of burrows located close to the ground, constructing their burrows around hidden areas such as debris, lumber or firewood debris. Their tunnels have a snake-like shape, meandering though bends on the surface. One burrow system can contain several adult voles at a time. Some species of voles prefer taking over burrows vacated by other voles. Voles are hunted by predators like snakes, foxes, hawks, raccoons and cats, being the reason why voles live between 2 to 16 months.
Their preferred habitats are areas with lots of grass and cover. They can swiftly destroy gardens, landscapes when they invade. Farmers and plantation owners find this creature as a pest, being in the habit of eating up crops and plant nurseries. They sometimes feed on the remains of bigger animals, snails and insects
Voles breed all through the year –spring and summer are the peak breeding season. Female voles produce between 1 to 5 litters each year, with each litter having between 3 to 6 pups. Voles attain sexual maturity at 1 to 1 ½ months.
The most pronounced sign of vole infestation is the appearance of runway system above the surface of the ground. The surface runway are often covered by vole droppings and cut vegetation. If there are no droppings and cut vegetation, then it is a clear sign that they have moved somewhere else.
Owing to the difficulty in differentiating a vole from a mouse, it is important you first have a professional pest controller inspect your property if you suspect vole infestation. After inspection, the professional exterminator will then propose effective ways of managing containing the voles. There are different methods of controlling moles, but the method you eventually settle for will depend on the number of voles. Exclusion, trapping, habitat modification are some of the common techniques used controlling vole infestation.