Females tend to favour dominant males. Domestic cats kill large numbers. Voles differ from mice in their blunt. Water vole burrows appear as a series of holes along the water’s edge, some just above or at the water level on steep banks, others can be below the water level There can also be burrows occurring further up the bank, up to 3m from the water’s edge. Vole holes can be right out in the open, or cleverly hidden under foliage or debris in the garden. Bank voles may dig shallow tunnels just beneath the surface of lawns in damp conditions. Similar size to field vole (around 9-12cm) but tail proportionately longer than that of field vole, being 50% length of head & body, whilst field vole is 30% (this is the main distinctive feature … The field vole is a small rodent with greyish-brown fur. They occasionally eat insects and birds’ eggs and often climb trees and shrubs to forage. The bank vole is a small plump animal with a characteristic blunt vole face and small round ears. Vole burrows are generally oval shaped, usually 5-8cm wide, often seen along the water’s edge but with some under the waterline used as bolt holes. The only visible evidence of a vole burrow is the neat exit holes an inch or two across. Voles, on the other hand, have smaller eyes, ears and tails. Bank voles live in shallow underground burrows which they line with dried grass, feathers and wool, in areas with thick cover they construct ground level nests of grass and moss. pollutants and also to changes in habitats brought about by development, farming, Autumn is a time of plenty for bank voles since they eat nuts and berries from the hedgerows but because they also feed on spillage from bird feeders we have a reasonable chance of seeing one. Field vole, bank vole and woodmouse burrows are much smaller at only 2 – 3cms across. Voles are born hairless and blind and are weaned after about 25 days. Bank voles occur in a variety of habitats where sufficient dense cover is available. It gathers and stores food underground and makes a nest with moss, dry grasses and leaves close to the surface or even above ground. They tend to be higher up the bank than a water vole, although some water vole colonies are taken over by rats which results in the burrows becoming larger. Wood mice dig burrows in cereal fields and similar open situations. It excavates long, shallow branching burrows with multiple exits, sometimes tunnelling along beneath the leaf litter. The bank vole is an important component of the food chain for many predator species, which may themselves be vulnerable. Kestrels are able to see into the ultraviolet spectrum and can detect bank voles’ urine trails, as the urine absorbs ultraviolet wavelengths, this allows them to focus on areas where voles are active. Compared to the similar field vole, the bank vole has neater, redder fur, larger ears, and a longer tail which is noticeably darker on top. Bank voles occur in a variety of habitats where sufficient dense cover is available, The nest is normally in a burrow a few inches below ground level but can be in a tree trunk or other hollow. faces, less prominent ears, and shorter tails. Breeding female water vole burrow … Compared to the similar field vole, the bank vole has neater, redder fur, larger ears, and a longer tail which is noticeably darker on top. It does not hibernate in winter. Bank voles may dig shallow tunnels just beneath the surface of lawns in damp conditions. © 2020 Cornwall Mammal Group, created with Wix.com, Cornwall Mammal Group, c/o Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Five Acres, Allet, Truro, Cornwall, TR4 9DJ, Four subspecies are recognised in islands around the UK which all tend to be larger than the mainland race. The easiest way to tell them apart is to look at the tail. road building and even increased grazing by deer. The word vole derives from the Norse vollmus meaning field mouse (rather confusingly!). Bank voles living on abandoned tin mining sites in Cornwall and Devon have been shown to have high levels of arsenic in their tissues. The bank vole’s feeding habits can provide useful information for surveys, with the characteristically opened hazel nuts providing definitive evidence of their presence. Males and females occupy territories that vary with season, breeding and food availability. Bank voles may dig shallow tunnels just beneath the surface of lawns in damp conditions. Hedgerows are vital to bank voles in Ireland providing important dispersal corridors between their nests and feeding grounds. The tunnels are generally only a few centimetres below ground, with entrance holes about 3cm in diameter. More extensive field surveys are needed to establish the distribution of this important, but often overlooked, rodent. Water vole burrows appear as a series of holes along the water’s edge, some just above or at the water level on steep banks, others can be below the water level There can also be burrows occurring further up the bank, up to 3m from the water’s edge. Their position at the bottom of the food chain suggests that our mining heritage may still have an impact on Cornwall’s wildlife. The bank vole lives in woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens. Around the nest it forms a system of burrows and tunnels in the field layer and so requires good cover and litter layer. Small mammal trapping, owl pellet analysis and hazelnut surveys all provide specific information. Bank voles usually breed in shallow burrows. A field vole’s tail is proportionally shorter (around a third of its head and body length), while a bank vole… Like mice, voles are also small with hairy tails and similar coloring that usually ranges from brown to grey or black. Snow cover can typically deciduous woodland, hedgerows and banks. Droppings are rarely seen outside the burrows and the small tracks are not diagnostic, but feeding signs such as the opening of hazel nuts (leaving a clean-edged hole with perpendicular tooth marks) and the stripping of tree bark at low levels are useful indicators of vole presence. In winter bank voles may enter Bank voles breed from April to October, although in mild conditions they may breed throughout the year and numbers may build rapidly to produce vole plagues which are then associated with increased numbers of predators such as short-eared owls. However, their short life span and dramatically fluctuating populations over the year may make them vulnerable to environmental or habitat change. It is in general quite bold but is also very alert to the cries of other animals such as tits (bird) warning of aerial predators. Bank voles are active throughout the day and night as they search for a range of grasses, seeds, berries, nuts and fungi. Voles can cause considerable damage to forestry plantation through bark stripping. houses and set up home in roofs and wall cavities. Small holes (about 30 mm diameter) in banks mark bank vole burrows. There is sometimes an obvious fan of mud around the burrow which may have feeding signs or a latrine on. The young are weaned at 3 weeks and are sexually mature in a further 2 weeks. Bank voles are one of the commonest mammals in Britain with a population estimated at 25 million: they are not regarded to be of conservation concern. Deep mulch and areas of groundcover plantings offer excellent vole habitat. Not to be confused with: the bank vole, which is very similar. Cat kills and other incidental sightings from bird feeders and mouse traps also provide records.