Numerous Meadow Voles Often Nest Beneath Residential Structures And Consume Copious Amounts Of Grass, Plants And Small Trees
Many people have never seen a vole before, and some people have never even heard of the animals. While voles may not be spotted often, they breed rapidly, making the animals abundant in the wild. In fact, the combined body mass of all voles in the United States outweighs the combined body mass of all of their predators. Voles rely mainly on vegetation for food, and they commonly sneak into residential yards at night in order to consume grass, plants, seeds and fruits. Voles dwell in a variety of habitats, including rocky and forested mountains, boggy meadows, urban and suburban streets and even in people’s houses. Some voles move around in the open, while other more cautious voles prefer to move about within areas obscured by vegetation, but vole activity is mainly limited to the nighttime hours. Four vole species have been documented in Pennsylvania where the meadow vole is the most abundant species.
The meadow vole is also referred to as the “field mouse” due to this species resemblance to a mouse. The meadow vole can be found across the United States and in every Pennsylvania County. These animals can be recognized for their stocky build, beady eyes and furry tale, and most adults are between 6 and 7.5 inches long, which includes their 1.3 to 2.5 inch tail. The meadow vole has a chestnut brown coat with a darker stripe of fur running along the top of its body, and their underside is greyish-white. The meadow vole prefers to dwell in high moisture areas near small water bodies and in fields containing low and thick grass. This vole species does not dwell in wooded areas, but they can sometimes be found in open areas of grass in forested areas. Voles move about secretly in grassy fields where they burrow three to four inches below the soil’s surface. It is not uncommon to find numerous voles moving about within grassy fields where they leave behind long and intricate trenches that part the soil. Meadow voles consume roots, grains and the inner bark of shrubs and trees, and they sometimes eat through the entire trunk of small trees, killing them. Meadow voles are active all year round in Pennsylvania and they are often spotted by homeowners around dawn and dusk.
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