Mammals

european nature gallery

Back

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Bank vole

The bank vole (Myodes glareolus; formerly Clethrionomys glareolus) is a small vole with red-brown fur and some grey patches, with a tail about half as long as its body. A rodent, it lives in woodland areas and is around 100 millimetres (3.9 in) in length. The bank vole is found in much of Europe and in northwestern Asia. It is native to Great Britain but not to Ireland, where it has been accidentally introduced, and has now colonised much of the south and southwest.
The bank vole lives in woodland, hedgerows and other dense vegetation such as bracken and bramble. Its underground chamber is lined with moss, feathers and vegetable fibre and contains a store of food. It can live for eighteen months to two years in the wild and over 42 months in captivity and is mostly herbivorous, eating buds, bark, seeds, nuts, leaves and fruits and occasionally insects and other small invertebrates. It readily climbs into scrub and low branches of trees although it is not as versatile as a mouse. It breeds in shallow burrows, the female rearing about four litters of pups during the summer.
The bank vole is a small rodent resembling a mouse when young but developing a stouter body, a slightly rounder head with smaller ears and eyes and a shorter, hairy tail. The dorsal surface is reddish-brown, with a greyish undercoat and the flanks are grey with a reddish-brown sheen. The underparts are whitish-grey sometimes tinged with dull yellow. The ears are larger than those of most voles. The adult head and body length varies between 3.25 and 4.75 inches (83 and 121 mm) and the tail ranges from 1.5 to 3 inches (38 to 76 mm). The weight is between 15.4 and 36 grams (0.54 and 1.27 oz). Young animals are darker in colour with greyer underparts. The bank vole is capable of making growling sounds and can utter low-pitched squeaks.[2] In a case of distress and isolation it has been witnessed to emit a sound resembling that of a human sob.

(latin: Myodes glareolus)

Sunday, 21 July 2019