Common Vole Species

The contents of this page is for information only, Rentokil does not treat these non-target mammals.

Voles, particularly water voles are often mistaken for young rats. Voles tend to have rounder noses, more chubby faces and shorter furry ears than rats; unlike rats their tails and paws are covered with hair.

Water Vole

(Arvicola terrestris)

Water Vole - Arvicola amphibius

Appearance

Water voles can sometimes be confused with rats. There are however, characteristics that clearly distinguish them from rats and house mice. Blunter, rounder noses, compact plump bodies, smaller hidden ears and shorter furry tails are all distinctive to the water vole - and unlike rats, their tails, paws and ears are fully covered in fur.

Life Cycle

Reaching sexual maturity in eight weeks from birth, the water vole reproduces 3 – 6 times a year, with an average of 3 – 8 young per litter. Their life span ranges between five months to two years in the wild.

Habitat

It is important to note that water voles and their habitats are protected in the UK – it is illegal to capture, harm or kill them.

Water voles inhabit cool, damp ground, ditches, edges of streams, embankments, and extensively used meadows, grassy areas with young trees gardens, orchards and vineyards.

These mammals do not hibernate, and are most active both during the day when they leave the safety of their burrow in search of food. The exceptionally good swimmers have a predominantly vegetarian diet but have been known to cause damage by burrowing.

Water voles are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

*The contents of this page is for information only, Rentokil does not treat these non-target mammals.

Bank Voles

(Myodes glareolus)

Appearance

Bank voles can be distinguished by their blunt nose, small eyes and ears, a richer, chestnut brown fur and a proportionally longer tail compared to the field vole.

Life Cycle

Breeding season lasts from March to October, with females producing an average of four offspring after a gestation period of four weeks. The young are fully independent in four weeks, and live for up to 18 months.

Habitat

Bank voles favour the woodland, but are also found in grassland and hedgerows. These small mammals are active during both day and night, feeding on fruit, nut and small insects.

*The contents of this page is for information only, Rentokil does not treat these non-target mammals.

Field Voles

(Microtus agrestis)

Field-Vole

Appearance

Identified by their rounded nose, less prominent eyes (than mice) and small furry ears, field voles have grey-brown fur with pale grey bellies.

Life Cycle

Field voles breed from March to October, with females producing 4 -6 young after a gestation period of 18 – 20 days. The average life span of a field vole is approximately 2 years.

Habitat

Field voles inhabit grassland, meadows and marshland as they mainly feed on green leaves and grass. These small mammals are generally nocturnal, but have been known to appear in the day during winter when food is scarce.

 

*The contents of this page is for information only, Rentokil does not treat these non-target mammals.


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