The most common North American voles, the Meadow voles inhabit a huge territory, stretching eastwards from central Alaska to the Atlantic coast and southwards to the Canadian border (Rocky Mountains), Georgia and even New Mexico. [7], In Pipestone National Monument, Minnesota, meadow voles were present in riparian shrublands, tallgrass prairie, and other habitats. [43] Properly timed cultivation and controlled fires are at least partially effective in reducing populations. They inhabit a range of habitats from grassy fields (and lawns) to open woodlands and marshes. In a… Moreth, Louis H.; Schramm, Peter. [3][12], Human diseases transmitted by microtine rodents include cystic hydatid disease, tularemia, bubonic plague, babesiosis, giardiasis[12] and the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. Weaning occurs from 12 to 14 days. Meadow vole, (Microtus pennsylvanicus), one of the most common and prolific small mammals in North America. [38] Predator numbers are positively associated with meadow vole abundance. Females of this species are able to produce over 10 letters of up to 11 young annually. Nature Notes: Meadow Vole. [35], Nests are used as nurseries, resting areas, and as protection against weather. As compared to other voles, the whiskers of Meadow vole are somewhat inconspicuous, and their fur is considerably finer. [12] Over the course of a year, meadow vole populations tend to be lowest in early spring; the population increases rapidly through summer and fall.[12]. [11][12] In Canada, meadow voles are active the first few hours after dawn and during the two- to four-hour period before sunset. 1 History 2 Anatomy 3 Behavior 4 Connection 5 References 6 See also 7 External links While Iroh was relaxing in a self-heated pool of water located in an Earth Kingdom forest, he was startled by one of these creatures, but felt relieved upon realizing it was a simple rodent. If you … ), Pacific giant salamander (Dicampton ensatus), garter snake (Thamnophis spp. In most areas meadow voles clearly prefer habitat with dense vegetation. Occasionally voles will use tunnels already excavated by … Overall, the fur of this species is dense and soft with some coarser hairs. [12][44], Ecto- and endoparasites have been reported to include trematodes, cestodes, nematodes, acanthocephalans, lice (Anoplura), fleas (Siphonaptera), Diptera, and ticks and mites (Acari). The Division of Wildlife’s mission is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Osborn, Eric D.; Hoagstrom, Carl W. (1989). Females of this species reach sexual maturity within the first month of their lives. It is excluded only from the extreme polar regions. Fungi, primarily endogones (Endogone spp. [11], Optimal meadow vole habitat consists of moist, dense grassland with substantial amounts of plant litter. However, the red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus ) can often be spotted. Their fur is generally thick and light brown to gray. Habitat. [11][12], Meadow voles eat most available species of grasses, sedges, and forbs, including many agricultural plant species. One of her young produced 13 litters (totalling 78 young) before she was a year old. Following snow melt in Spring, vole tunnels in grassy areas are readily seen during high population years. [11] Peak meadow vole abundance can exceed 1,482 meadow voles per hectare (600/acre) in northern prairie wetlands. Females have smaller home ranges than males, but are more highly territorial than males; often, juveniles from one litter are still present in the adult female's home range when the next litter is born. Direct control methods include trapping, fencing, and poisoning; trapping and fencing are of limited effectiveness. The meadow vole probably occurs throughout much of northern Missouri, in its preferred habitat of low, damp areas of stream valleys and floodplains. Top of page. Other animals reported to have ingested voles include trout (Salmo spp. Possible threats include habitat changes that may affect certain subspecies, inhabiting small islands. [14], Patterns of mortality apparently vary among meadow vole populations. The rodents wear down visible runways in the grass as they travel between burrows and feeding sites. Meadow voles are active at anytime of the day but only in cycles of 4.8 hours, and at any given moment of the day 50% of the population is active (Ambrose 1973). [12] The American short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda) is a major predator; meadow voles avoid areas frequented by short-tailed shrews. Management of meadow vole populations in agricultural areas includes reduction of habitat in waste places such as roadsides and fencerows by mowing, plowing, and herbicide application. Presently, there are no notable threats to the population of Meadow voles, although the species appear to be hunted by weasels, stoats, house cats and other predators of their range. Characteristics: Meadow voles, also sometimes called meadow mice or just plain “voles”, are small mammals, They have a compact and fat little body with short legs and a short furry tail, small eyes and partially hidden ears. Meadow Vole: The meadow vole is the most widely distributed species in the United States. The meadow vole makes extensive runways through vegetation, and is a proficient digger and swimmer. Meadow voles have to eat frequently, and their active periods (every two to three hours) are associated with food digestion. These voles do not create extensive tunnel systems, but use existing burrows. Meadow Vole. When open grassy fields or meadows are not available, they are happy to accept pastures. [12] In Ohio, meadow voles comprised 90% of the individual prey remains in long-eared owl (Asio otus) pellets on a relict wet prairie,[37] and in Wisconsin, meadow voles comprised 95% of short-eared owl (A. flammeus) prey. In: Szaro, Robert C.; Severson, Kieth E.; Patton, David R., technical coordinators. They are often restricted to the wetter microsites when they occur in sympatry with prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) or montane voles. In other species, however, such as the meadow vole which much more often bothers homeowners and farmers, the males are promiscuous and leave the female’s side to go mate again as quickly as possible. [18] Meadow voles in optimal habitats in Virginia (old fields with dense vegetation) reached densities of 983/ha (398/ac); populations declined to 67/ha (27/ac) at the lowest point in the cycle. ), marten (Martes americana), domestic dog (Canis familiaris), domestic cat (Felis catus) and mountain lion. Some of their primary habitats include meadows, and other open areas. Meanwhile, females of this species display highly territorial behavior, fiercely defending their home ranges. Meadow voles play an important role in the local ecosystem. This is particularly evident in males during the breeding season. [3] A threshold density of cover is thought to be needed for meadow vole populations to increase. Meadow vole, (Microtus pennsylvanicus), one of the most common and prolific small mammals in North America. Meadow voles will eat flesh and are cannibalistic, especially on new born young. Local patches of dense cover could serve as source populations or reservoirs to colonize less favorable habitats with sparse cover. Wet meadows and open grassland near streams, lakes, ponds and swamps. The Southern Red-backed Vole, Clethrionomys gappen is another common Connecticut vole species that favors moist wooded habitat or swampy areas. with low tolerance for habitat variation (i. e., a species that is intolerant of variations in habitat, is restricted to few habitats, and/or uses habitats less evenly than tolerant species). Sieg, Carolyn Hull. The meadow vole has the widest distribution of any North American species of Microtus. Public domain.) Habitat. In winter, nests are often constructed on the ground surface under a covering of snow, usually against some natural formation such as a rock or log. PLANT COMMUNITIES : Meadow voles are most commonly found in grasslands, preferring moister areas, but are also found in wooded areas. At population peak and in preferred habitat, vole populations may be as high as 400 voles/acre or around 200 voles for an area as large as an average home lot! Mulch should be kept at least three inches away from the base of trees. In: Wickett, Robert G.; Lewis, Patricia Dolan; Woodliffe, Allen; Pratt, Paul, eds. If you enjoy this article, you’re sure to love Ed Robinson’s 2018 book, Nature Notes from Maine, which includes many of the wildlife stories on this website, new stories and stunning photographs and ink drawings. Meadow vole management options. Found all throughout Canada. [40] In forest plantations in British Columbia, an apparently abundant (not measured) meadow vole population was associated with a high rate of "not sufficient regeneration"; damage to tree seedlings was attributed to meadow voles and lemmings (Synaptomys spp.). Detailed Description. Gestation period lasts for 20 - 21 days, yielding up to 11 young with an average of 4 - 5. Meadow Vole: The meadow vole is the most widely distributed species in the United States. Open habitat with a thick mat of perennial grass favors voles. Meadow voles are more widely distributed, but prairie voles are more common in prairie areas. One subspecies, the Florida salt marsh vole (M. p. dukecampbelli), is found in Florida, and is classified as endangered. ); racers and voles often use the same burrows. "Protection with vexar cylinders from damage by meadow voles of tree and shrub seedlings in northeastern Alberta". Habitat selection is largely influenced by relative ground cover of grasses and forbs; soil temperature, moisture, sodium, potassium, and pH levels; humidity; and interspecific competition. The list of crops damaged by meadow voles includes root and stem crops (asparagus, kohlrabi), tubers, leaf and leafstalks, immature inflorescent vegetables (artichoke, broccoli), low-growing fruits (beans, squash), the bark of fruit trees, pasture, grassland, hay, and grains. Young of this species is born hairless, beginning to grow fur at 3 days old. [12] Neonates are pink and hairless, with closed eyes and ears. Meadow Voles eat grass, roots and seeds. The Woodland Vole (Microtus pinetorum) is a small vole with an average body mass of 26 g and a length of about 120 mm. Microtus pennsylvanicus. [30] In west-central Illinois, they were the most common small mammals on Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)-dominated and switchgrass (Panicum virginicus)-dominated study plots. The meadow vole is a mouse-like creature which resides primarily in the forests of the Earth Kingdom. The size and color of this large vole depend on location. Meadow voles are most commonly found in grasslands, preferring moister areas, but are also found in wooded areas. Wet grassland habitat but not above timberline in grassy alpine tundra. They are known to inhabit areas close to roadways, as long as there is grass coverage for tunneling and nesting. Poisons are efficient. In years of average population sizes, typical meadow vole population density is about 15 to 45 meadow voles per acre in old-field habitat. However, populations reached their peak abundance during the perennial grass stage of succession from old field to tallgrass prairie. They are socially aggressive and agonistic; females dominate males and males fight amongst themselves. Overhead grass cover is essential. Optimal meadow vole habitat consists of moist, dense grassland with substantial amounts of plant litter. [11][12][17] Breeding often ceases in January and starts again in March. Its short tail makes up less than 20% of the length. The primary habitats of this species are meadows, lowland fields, grassy marshes and areas along rivers and lakes. Occurs sparingly in mature forests in Newfoundland. [11][12] Female territoriality tends to determine density in suboptimal habitats; the amount of available forage may be the determining factor in female territory size, so determines reproductive success. Northern subspecies may also have some red in their fur. Fritzell [ 20 ] stated that peak meadow vole abundance can exceed 1,482 meadow voles per acre (600/ha) in northern prairie wetlands. Other winter diet components include seeds, roots, and bulbs. This study examined the effects of habitat fragmentation on meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) population dynamics in experimental landscape patches. Its range extends farther south along the Atlantic coast. In peak years meadow vole population densities may reach 150 meadow voles per acre in marsh habitat (more favorable for meadow voles than old fields) . The Meadow Vole, under 6 inches in length from tip of nose to end of tail and a little over an ounce in weight, has the rotund body, blunt nose, and bright black eyes of all voles. They usually feed a sitting up position. Damage, symptoms and biology. And, even then there are exceptions and there might be voles … Litter size is not significantly correlated with latitude, elevation, or population density. Weighing less than 50 grams (1.8 ounces), this stout vole is 15 to 20 cm (5.9 to 7.9 inches) long, including its short tail (3 to 6 cm). [18] Numbers of short-eared owls, northern harriers, rough-legged hawks (Buteo lagopus), coyotes (Canis latrans), and red foxes were related to large numbers of meadow voles in a field in Wisconsin. Its fur is gray to yellow brown, obscured by black-tipped hairs. Predators, particularly raptors, should be protected to keep meadow vole populations in check. Habitat: Open grasslands, crop land, tundra, taiga, deciduous forests and around water. It is highly active and lives in burrows dug into the ground. [3] Home ranges vary in size from 0.08 to 2.3 hectares (0.32-0.9 ac). In southeastern Montana, meadow voles were the second-most abundant small mammal (after deer mice, Peromyscus maniculatus) in riparian areas within big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)-buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) habitats. barrow pits, and fence lines Table 1. NATURE SERVE GLOBAL HABITAT COMMENTS: 2. Although meadow voles spend considerable time above ground, scurrying about, they spend most of their time below ground in their burrow system. ), and bird vetch (Vicia cracca). The vole is a good swimmer and makes burrows just under the surface of the ground. Range. The meadow vole is a common North American mammal that is widely distributed across this continent. In spite of the fact that they live in locations within close proximity to one another, they constantly fight with other members of the same species. As herbivorous animals, Meadow voles primarily consume fresh grass, sedges and herbs, supplementing their diet with occasional seeds and grains. In rectangular patches, home ranges were similar in size to those in square patches, but were elongated. Thumbnail Medium Original. According to IUCN, the Meadow vole is locally common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. 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