Field voles breed prolifically, mainly in summer, but often all year round, even under snow. They can occur in woodland where there is plenty of grass cover and are most common in young woods. Little is known about the Field voles’ mating system. Gestation period lasts for 3 weeks, giving birth to 4 - 6 young. They breed from March-April to October-December. However, this results in less successful breeding due to competition for territory and food as well as increased aggression. The field vole (also known as the short-tailed vole) is very common in grassland, heathland and moorland habitats. The gestation period is about three weeks and up to a dozen young are borne. It is one of the most common mammals in Europe, with a range extending from the Atlantic coast to Lake Baikal. The field vole is a small, dark brown rodent with a short tail, distinguishable from the closely related common vole (Microtus arvalis) by its darker, longer and shaggier hair and by its more densely haired ears. They are an important food source for owls and some other predators and their population size tends to peak and trough cyclically. Shredded grass leaves are used to make their nests which are about 10cm in diameter and may be built at the base of grass tussocks, in underground burrows or even under sheets of corrugated iron. Field voles construct their nests both under and above the ground, typically in clumps of grass or sedge. Field vole is one of the most common mammals in Britain. Underground nests are dug 30 to 40 cm deep into the ground and are used for food storage, offspring raising, and as a place for rest and sleep. [3] The voice is a faint, low squeak and it also emits a range of chattering sounds. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates. The number of voles expands rapidly with the arrival of spring and the better availability of food supplies. The depression was made by a tree vole … Such increased populations are called ‘vole plagues’. Off these are dedicated defecation sites and it often leaves little piles of chopped up grass stalks nearby. [9], The field vole is common over most of its very wide range, although thinning out towards the peripheries and may be locally scarce where conditions are less suitable. In addition, these rodents are known to consume invertebrates such as insect larvae. The head and body length varies between 8 and 13 centimetres (3.1 and 5.1 in) and the tail between 3 and 4 centimetres (1.2 and 1.6 in). Affiliate Disclaimer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to ), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and buttercups (Ranunculus spp.). Male Red-tail Brings In Vole And Works On Nest Bowl – March 6, 2018 - Duration: 11:10. They don't undergo hibernation and can be active during both day and night. Further up the food chain, it forms an extremely important part of the diet of many predators, such as kestrels, weasels and barn owls. Field voles are predominantly herbivorous. and Festuca rubra, the yarrow (Achillea millefolium), clover (Trifolium spp. The nest is made on or just under the surface of the ground, often in a clump of grass or sedge. The voles choose species with high digestibility where possible and avoid some common plants amongst which they live such as the tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia cespitosa) and rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium). Field voles are affected by a number of factors throughout their range. Meanwhile, young males immediately disperse, being driven away by adult males. 0:16. [7] The field vole breeds throughout the year but the breeding season peaks in spring and summer. The field vole or short-tailed vole (Microtus agrestis) is a grey-brown vole,[2] around 10 cm in length, with a short tail. The gestation period is about three weeks and up to a dozen young are borne. Each vole makes runways among the grass stems, usually centred on a tussock where it nests. These grow rapidly, suckle for twelve days and leave the nest at twenty one days, reaching sexual maturity soon afterwards. Field Vole on The IUCN Red List site -, Females produce up to seven litters a year, each averaging from four to six young which are weaned after about fourteen days. These animals are known to construct runways under lawns. The cup depression is a good example of how an inner chamber of a tree vole nest would look without a roof. This animal doesn't tend to enter houses, but can often be seen in backyards. These grow rapidly, suckle for twelve days and leave the nest at twenty one days, reaching sexual maturity soon afterwards. Like the common vole, the field vole is subject to population explosions when conditions are right. Females of this species can yield 2 - 7 litters per year. The pregnancy rate is nearly 100% in late spring but falls during midsummer only to rise again later. Field voles are primarily found in open areas with plenty of long grass. Preferred habitat of these rodents is ungrazed grassland with abundance of vegetation. After leaving the nest, young female voles remain in or near their mother's home range but young males are forced to disperse by the aggressiveness of the adult males. Though very numerous, they have little impact on man except in plague years when they may cause significant damage to crops. However, according to The Mammal society, a recent population estimate put the number of Field voles in Britain at 75,000,000 individuals. It is active day and night and eats seeds, roots and leaves. The field vole occurs typically in ungrazed grassland or in the early stages of forestry plantations but may also live in woodland, hedgerows, dunes, scree or moorland, wherever grass is available. For safety reasons, Field voles open paths through high grass, which help them easily run and flee when threatened, returning to their burrows through these routes. They are known to store grass for winter, collecting it in small underground burrows, which they dig themselves. Female field voles sometimes spontaneously move in the time gap between weaning one litter and producing the next, a phenomenon typical of this species. They occur in a wide variety of environments such as meadows, margins of fields, forestry plantations, hedgerows, dunes, open moorland and blanket bogs. These voles are found in moist grassy habitats, such as woodland, marsh or on river banks. The nest is made on or just under the surface of the ground, often in a clump of grass or sedge. [9] At this time litter sizes may fall, growth rates slow down, there may be increased mortality of young in the nest, adults may lose weight and some may die. Field voles are solitary and highly territorial animals, fiercely and aggressively defending their territories from intruders. It is absent from Iceland and Ireland and thins out southwards towards the Mediterranean Sea. Because of the low availability of food in the winter, drier habitats are unable to sustain populations of much over two hundred animals per hectare. The Best 20 Gallon Fish Tank Guide – 2020, The Best Aquarium Vacuum Buyers Guide – 2020, The Best Goldfish Food Buyers Guide – 2020, The Best Aquarium Rock Buyers Guide – 2020. Females of this species can yield 2 - 7 litters per year. [5], Field voles are an important part of the diet of barn owls and they are also preyed on by kestrels, other owls, weasels, stoats, foxes and snakes. Thus, they suffer from overgrazing, poisoning by rodenticides, scrub growth, urban development, decline of rough grassland as well as lack of hedgerows and other linear objects. The Field vole is common and widespread throughout its range but the global population size of this species is unknown. Its coat is greyish-brown on the upper-parts and creamy-grey on the under-parts. Despite their digging habits, these voles nest above the surface on grass stems, which are often protected by a stone or log. Voles belong to the family of Cricetidae along with their close relatives, hamsters. Field voles have an extremely high birth rate: a single female may yield up to 100 young per year. [8], Male field voles maintain a territory but females just have a home range which may overlap with that of a neighbour. It occasionally eats invertebrates such as insect larvae. One of the causes of the large population swings that occur in the field vole is the scramble competition which comes into play when the most desirable food plants are less available in mid summer. This nest contains fresh tree vole nest material and is possibly under construction, because there is no covering for the nest chamber. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC), and its numbers remain stable. Nests can be shared and defended by up to five females with juveniles that are related in most ca… Although they make shallow burrows, they usually build nests above ground. As highly productive breeders, they may increase to thousands in suitable conditions. Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub, 2.


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