I came across this little vole on the bank of a local canal as I looked over an aged, arched bridge. And there it was, nibbling on bits of bread which folk had put out for the birds.
The Bank Vole is one of Britain’s smallest voles. It has a reddish-chestnut coloured coat and a dirty white underside. Similar to the Field Vole (Microtus agrestis), but the Bank Vole has a greyer coat, a longer tail (under half the length of its body), and larger ears. Head and body length 8-12cm.
They make their nests in shallow burrows beneath the earth which they line with leaves, grass, moss or feathers. The females have litters of up to three to five blind young between April and October. They can live up to 18 months. Bank Voles are active day or night, and they forage for food for fairly long distances. They feed on grass, roots, fruit, seeds, insects and earthworms. They are good climbers and will climb up vegetation to eat fruit.
They are found in broadleaf woodland, scrubland, hedgerows, and sometimes well established gardens. They are native to Great Britain, and are common and widespread.
Photographs taken September 2011, by local canal bridge, Staffordshire.