Field or short-tailed vole by Mike Dawson 1/1

Field or Short-tailed Vole Microtus agrestis

The field vole, also known as the short-tailed vole, is very common and widespread throughout mainland Britain and can be found in grassland, arable, wooded, heathland and moorland habitats.  They are herbivores eating seeds, roots, mosses and leaves and spend much of their time among vegetation living in runs and burrows and so are seldom seen. Voles form an extremely important part of the diet of many predators such as Kestrels, Weasels and Barn owls.

Conservation status

It is thought to be the most common British mammal. Population size tends to peak and trough in roughly a 4-year cycle with numbers 10 times as many in the highs as in the lows.

Details

Did you know? The peak breeding season of field voles is spring and summer and they can have 3 to 6 litters a year with up to seven young in each. The young are weaned and ready to leave the nest 21 days after birth and males can breed at 40 days old and females at just 28 days. The voles spend much of their lives in shallow burrows which they excavate close to the surface of the ground and in runs through tall vegetation. They build their nests from shredded grass at the base of grass tussocks or in their underground burrow
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