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Problem Animal
Meadow Vole

Grouping Herbivore, "V"™ for Vegetarian
Nicknames Meadow Mouse, Field Mouse, Yard Beaver, @#$%^&*!   
Best Known For Surface trails through the grass, like a Rand McNally® road map, particularly evident after a snow melt. They keep a meadow a meadow by girdling young trees and shrubs. Being confused with a mole.
Life Span 3 months to 2 years.
Mating Season Spring and Summer.
Reproductive Details After a gestation period of 21 days 3 to 5 young are born in a litter. 5 to 10 litters per year. As many as 17 litters per year have been recorded for voles in captivity. Voles reach sexual maturity in 3 weeks.    
Dispersal Territory expansion and exploration for new habitats occurs routinely in the winter under snow cover. The snow provides protection from predators such as hawks, owls, skunks, foxes and coyotes.
Habitat Open fields and low growing plants such as junipers, periwinkle, pachysandra and hosta. They love ground cover and canopy plantings.  Trails are maintained through the lawn by continual eating of the grass crowns. 
Activity Cycle  Active day and night year round. Burrows are 3 to 4 inches under ground. Feeding predominantly on above ground vegetation.
Food Soft tissue plants including turf grass, hosta, daffodil and tulip tops.  Below grade on various bulbs and tubers including sweet potatoes, hosta and daffodil.  Below grade on root systems including roses, maples and fruit trees.  Above ground on woody plants including fine leaf maples, burning bush, blue pacific, blue rug, and sergeant junipers. Everything of value to you. Capable of eating its weight in food over 24 hour period.
Damage Signs Trails on the surface throughout lawns resembling a road map visible after the snow melts.  Large accumulations of dead grass accompany winter foraging. Food caches of succulent grasses and limb tips stored under ground cover canopy. Girdled trees and shrubs. Dead limbs on shrubbery showing up over the summer.  Voles create ruts on the lawn unlike moles that create tunnels under the lawn.
Treatment Lots of traps on location to eradicate the population. Bait stations with listed rodenticides for winter maintenance. Exclude den site areas under concrete slabs and walls by filling voids with small stone and screening off access areas (see Ground Level Exclusion tab). Embrace natures control agents which include foxes, coyotes, skunks, hawks and owls.  
Distinguishing Features Gray to reddish brown coloration. Short tail. Prominent eyes with laid back ears blended into their fur. 3 to 4 times the size of a mouse.
Nests & Dens Voles can be likened to “miniature groundhogs:” having underground den sites commonly under plant root systems.  Like their larger cousin voles feed on the surface but usually under some sort of cover. Nests take the form of a ball of dried grass or leaf material and occur at ground level beneath plant cover or man-made objects including concrete porches and patios, low decks, and splash blocks for downspouts.  
 

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