Also known as meadow mice or meadow voles, these small, typically nocturnal rodents have gray to brown fur and strong, chisel-like teeth. Voles grow to about 7 inches long. They nest in shallow underground burrows or live above ground in dense vegetation or leaf mulches; they sometimes take over abandoned mole tunnels. Narrow surface trails usually run between each animal’s nest and its food sources.

Though voles can climb, they rarely venture more than 2 feet off the ground, more typically feeding at or just below soil level. Vole populations rise and fall cyclically; when the numbers soar, the creatures are especially trouble- some in gardens.


Bulbs, tender vegetables and flowers, grasses, bark.


Plant parts are nibbled; seedlings may be eaten to the ground. Bark is gnawed or stripped.


Repellents, Fences


Eliminate favored vole habitats by weeding and pulling mulch and vegetation away from the base of trees and vines. Replace thick, fluffy mulches, which afford hiding places, with more compact materials. Fences of 1/4-inch-diameter wire mesh, extending 6 to 10 inches below ground and at least 1 foot above the surface, will keep out voles. Wrap young tree trunks with mesh, burying the bottom edges to keep the animals from burrowing underneath. Also cover bulb beds with wire mesh, securing the edges. To trap voles, use ordinary mouse traps, placing them in burrows at right angles to the runway.

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