I was getting some excercise and walking along the margin of a local farmer’s field when I caught a glimpse of this lovley little Field Vole dart across my path. How I managed to keep my eyes on it I don’t know, but I tracked it into the field to get this single photograph of it. It was very difficult for me at the time for I had badly broken my right wrist and it was strapped up, and the Field Mouse was so quick it soon vanished amongst the vegetation.
Also called the ‘Short-tailed Vole’, it has brownish fur with pale greyish undersides, and a short tail. Similar to the Bank Vole (Myodes glareolus), which has darker, more chestnut coloured fur, a longer tail and larger ears. Head and body length 9-13cm. Tail length 2.5-4.5cm.
It makes shallow burrows underground, and forms runways through the grass marking a trail made by an unpleasant smell, which birds of prey can detect via the UV light which emits from the trails. They breed rapidly, with four or five litters between March and December. The Field Vole is an important food source to a large number of meat eaters, such as owls, kestrels, foxes, and stoats. It mainly feeds on roots and grasses, but will also scavenge for food, and eat tree bark in the winter. It can live up to 2 years.
Found in dunes, moorland, woodland, hedgerows. It likes damp grassy places like marshes or river banks. A native species and locally common over much of Great Britain.
Photograph taken March 2012, local field, Staffordshire.