Fun Vole Facts For Kids

Martha Martins
Jan 12, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Vole facts such as the fact that they are small rodents that resemble mice are fascinating.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.6 Min

There are 155 species of voles around the world in North America, Europe, and Asia. 23 vole species are native to the USA. Six species of these rodents can be found in California alone.

The meadow vole, Microtus pennsylvanicusisthe, is the most common vole found in America. These small, cute, rodents are related to lemmings and hamsters. However, they are shorter, stouter, and have a hairier tail.

A vole’s head is slightly rounder than lemmings, with smaller ears and small eyes. These animals have differently formed molars. Vole Microtus are also called meadow mice or field mice and are mistaken as rats, house mice, moles, and shrews.

Voles do not show sexual dimorphism and both sexes have a similar appearance. Voles often cause damage to trees around the base and lawns in gardens. Voles may also chew wooden ornaments in gardens, roots of plants like celery and parsley.

Vole damage caused to crops and gardens is one of the main reasons for vole control methods like trapping with baits are used. Vole rodent populations go through highs and lows. Vole populations have several predators like cats, foxes, gulls, badgers, weasels, and owls.

You may also check out the fact files on water rats and black rats from Kidadl.

Vole Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a vole?

A vole is a small rodent that is always active. Voles don’t hibernate. They are considered pests as they chew the stems and roots of trees and shrubs. They usually burrow not too deep from the surface. They remain within the home range and dig several burrows. The shallow burrows are usually lined with grass, dry stems, and leaves.

What class of animal does a vole belong to?

Voles are mammals, belonging to class Mammalia.

Voles reproduce all through the year. During winter snow, voles burrow through the snow to the surface. The burrows are occupied by many adults and young ones.

The explosive vole population sometimes requires vole control. If unchecked, voles can damage crops and garden plants.

How many voles are there in the world?

Large vole populations of various species are found around the world. In the UK alone, the population of voles is thought to be around 75 million. It is extremely difficult to estimate the vole population in the world.

Where does a vole live?

Voles live in grasslands, savanna, bogs, and marshes wherever they can find vegetative cover. Their populations thrive in wetlands, woodlands, meadows; where there is vegetative matter to feed on. These rodents are also found in gardens below trees and shrubs, lawns, and agricultural lands where they cause much damage.

In North America, they may be seen in dense grassy fields, where they make their underground nests. Vole Microtus also burrow around tree roots, and under fruit trees.

What is a vole's habitat?

In the wild, voles live in mountains, the tundra, under trees and shrubs, wet bogs, and grassy areas. These rodents can tolerate warm and cold climates.

Increasing vole numbers are a concern in several countries. The ideal meadow vole habitat is moist, dense grasslands where there’s enough plant litter. These rodents choose their habitat by considering the ground cover with grasses and forbs or flowering plants, the temperature of the soil, moisture, and pH levels.

Different vole species thrive in a range of separate habitats. However, they all prefer dense ground cover. Most voles spend maximum time in their underground nests. The burrows are a part of a complex colony.

Voles are active all the time. The damage voles cause to crops can be major. Vole damage to trees in gardens is worrisome. That leads people to trap these rodents with baits.

People often locate vole holes to exterminate them. Vole presence can be identified with surface runways. These runways are a vole’s escape route. Vole runways are generally noticed on the topsoil or grass. These runways are coved by long grasses around the tunnel to keep them hidden.

Who do voles live with?

Voles usually live in family colonies. Depending on the species, the colonies may house two adults, several young voles, and some newborn babies. Adult voles defend their territories from other voles.

How long does a vole live?

Voles live for up to two years depending on the size of their species. Smaller voles live for a few months but the larger voles like the European water vole may live longer.

How do they reproduce?

Some vole species are monogamous like the prairie voles and some are polygamous like the meadow mouse. The mating starts with courtship and often the male voles send singing signals. Usually, a meadow vole litter consists of four to six.

The maximum number of babies may go up to 11. Summer litters are usually the largest. Voles breed throughout the year.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of most of the vole species including the common voles and the meadow voles or meadow mouse is of Least Concern. However, in Britain, water voles are lawfully protected due to their decreasing populations.

Vole Fun Facts

What do voles look like?

Vole walking on ground

Voles are furry rodents that have an appearance like field mice. The meadow mouse or meadow vole has short tails, and a heavy, compact body. They have prominent teeth with which they gnaw on trees, roots, barks.

How do they communicate?

Voles communicate through squeaks and singing sounds. When in distress or during courtship, voles make different sounds to send signals.

How big is a vole?

A 6 in (15cm) meadow vole is 9 times shorter than a 4.5ft (1.35m) long capybara, the largest rodent on Earth.

How fast can a vole run?

Voles can run fast. Voles may run at up to 6mph (10kph).

How much does a vole weigh?

Voles weigh around 0.13lb - 0.04lb (6g - 20g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female voles do not have any special names but are sometimes addressed as bucks and does.

What would you call a baby vole?

There is no special name for a baby vole.

What do they eat?

Voles are herbivorous. They feed on roots, grasses, seeds, tuberous roots, herbaceous plants, bulbs, etc. In winter when it snows and the surface is covered, in absence of green plants, voles feed on barks and roots of trees.

These rodents also have the habit of storing seeds in their underground nesting chambers. The favorite diet of voles includes grasses and forbs. When the populations are high and food is scarce, voles also eat grain crops causing major damage to plants.

Are they dangerous?

Voles are sometimes confused with moles and brown rats. Voles may enter buildings looking for food but their usual habitat is under the ground or outdoor burrows. These are not household pests but mostly considered garden pests and are victims of trapping devices and poisonous vole killers. Voles do not bite or cause physical harm to humans.

However, the damage caused to trees and shrubs, crops, and lawns can be an irritant. Another danger is posed by the urine and feces of these animals that can spread diseases. Meadow voles or meadow mice may also be carriers of parasites that may affect pets.

Predators like cats, badgers, hawks, owls, foxes cannot cause a dent in the vole populations.

Would they make a good pet?

Voles make good pets like hamsters and mice.

Did you know...

Male field voles produce a musky, unpleasant smell, fight, and squeak loudly, during the breeding season to defend their territories.

Garlic and castor oil can be organic vole control measures. Crushed garlic placed on vole runways works as a repellent.

What is the difference between a vole and a mole?

The most striking difference between moles and voles is that moles are carnivores and voles are herbivores. Voles choose roots, stems, and grains as their food.

How to trap a vole?

Vole damage to plants and crops often leads to huge losses. To get rid of voles from gardens mouse traps are often used with baits like apple slices.

Vole control is important to save crops and gardens from these rodents. Fencing, live vole traps, vole repellents, are effective means of vole control. Poison bait traps can kill voles but are not safe for humans, pets, and the environment.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our white-footed mouse facts and pouched rat facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Vole coloring pages.

Vole Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Grass, Seeds, Roots, Herbs, Bulbs, Tubers

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

4-6 young voles

How Much Did They Weigh?

0.13lb - 0.04lb (6g - 20g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

grassland, swamps, farmlands, heathland, gardens, moorlands, towns

Where Do They Live?

north america, alaska, mexico

How Long Were They?

3in – 9in (7.6cm – 22.9 cm)

How Tall Were They?





Microtus – meadow voles Arvicola – water voles Chionomys – snow voles Blanfordimys – Afghan vole, Bucharian vole



Scientific Name


What Do They Look Like?

Gray, Chestnut Brown, White, Red, Black

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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