Skip to Content

Woodland Vole

The woodland vole (Microtus pinetorum) is a small rodent found in various regions of the United States and Canada. This species is known for its ability to inhabit a variety of habitats, ranging from open meadows to coniferous forests.

Woodland voles have an impressive array of behaviors which allow them to live successfully in these diverse environments.

Woodland voles are members of the genus Microtus, which contains over fifty species spread across North America, Europe, Asia and Alaska. These short-tailed rodents average 7–10 cm in length including their tail, with adults weighing between 15-30 g.

They exhibit significant variation in coloration depending on region; individuals living in more northern climates tend to be a darker grey than those inhabiting southern areas. Their diet consists mostly of grasses and other herbaceous plants supplemented by fungi such as mushrooms when available during certain times of year.

In terms of reproduction, woodland voles generally produce one litter per year that ranges from two to seven young after gestation periods lasting approximately three weeks. After emerging from their nest burrows at around 20 days old they become independent soon thereafter and begin dispersing into new territories or joining established colonies near sources of food or shelter where they may remain until reaching maturity at about 5 months old.

Woodland vole


The woodland vole, a small mammal of the family Cricetidae, is an intriguing species. It can be found in wooded areas across Europe and parts of Asia. Its sleek brown fur and distinctive black eyes make it stand out among other animals that inhabit similar habitats. The definition of this species offers insight into its unique characteristics and behavior.

Woodland voles are classified as medium-sized rodents that have a snout-to-vent length ranging from 4 to 8 inches. They possess short tails and rounded ears with dense underfur which helps them stay warm during cold winter nights in their natural habitat.

Voles also feature sharp incisors for gnawing on vegetation such as roots and bark when searching for food. Additionally, these animals travel along tunnels they create underground or through grassy fields above ground in search of mates during mating season.

The classification of a woodland vole may vary slightly depending on their location; however, all voles share common features among each other making them identifiable within their genus Microtus. These features include stocky bodies, short legs, long claws perfect for digging burrows in soil, and generally nocturnal behaviors allowing them to avoid predators amongst other characteristic traits shared by members of this species.

In summary, woodland voles are fascinating mammals belonging to the rodent family Cricetidae known for their short tails, large heads, wide cheeks and dark fur coloration used to help camouflage themselves against potential predators while traveling around their environment looking for food sources or potential mates during breeding season.


The woodland vole is a widespread species of small rodent found in forests, grasslands, shrublands and wetlands across North America. Woodland voles are most commonly associated with moist deciduous forest habitats where they utilize the resources provided by leaf litter on the forest floor for food and shelter.

They also inhabit mesic coniferous forests as well as certain types of tallgrass prairies. In addition to these areas, woodland voles may live in other wetland or marsh-like habitats such as swamps, bogs, marshes, stream banks and meadows if suitable cover exists.

Woodland voles have adapted to life in a variety of different habitat types including various kinds of wooded areas like young second-growth hardwood stands, mature mixed hardwoods, hemlock/hardwood stands and bottomland floodplain timber stands.

They can be found living among dense shrubs along roadsides or streambanks but do not often occupy open fields or pastures unless there is an abundance of vegetation present.

In terms of their diet preferences within each type of habitat, studies suggest that woodland voles prefer forbs more than grasses when compared to other Microtus species typically found in the same area; however, this preference varies from one region to another depending on what kind of plants are available during particular seasons.

Moreover, due to their need for plant matter year round woodland voles will also feed on bark and twigs when necessary as part of their regular diet even though it does not provide them with much nutritional value. Overall these rodents rely heavily upon easily accessible sources of green vegetative material which makes them vulnerable to severe population declines should conditions become unfavorable in any given location.

Physical Characteristics

The woodland vole is a small, nocturnal rodent found in the eastern United States and Canada. It has been theorized that their physical characteristics are adapted to survive in dense environments of grasses, shrubs, and trees. This section will investigate this theory by exploring the fur color, tail length, body size, muzzle shape, and ear shape of these animals.

Woodland voles have grayish-brown fur on top with buffy or white underbellies. Their tails are short as compared to other species and generally measure less than half their bodies’ lengths. They typically weigh between 20–30 grams when fully grown and measure 7–9 inches in total length from nose tip to tail end. The muzzle is blunt with whiskers around the face while the ears are rounded with sparsely haired edges.

These physical adaptations appear suited for life in wooded areas where they can take advantage of abundant food sources like seeds, flowers, fruits, fungi, insects and worms hidden beneath thick vegetation layers.

Furthermore, due to their low profile silhouette they avoid detection from predators such as hawks while remaining well camouflaged amongst leaf litter and debris on the forest floor. In addition to providing protection from potential danger it also serves as an excellent habitat for breeding activities throughout spring and summer months before returning underground during winter season.

It appears then that indeed many aspects of a woodland vole’s anatomy have evolved over time allowing them to thrive in densely populated forests across North America despite competition for resources among other wildlife species. Without question its unique combination of traits enables it to successfully coexist within its environment in spite of any risk posed by larger predatory invaders.

Reproduction And Lifespan

In terms of reproduction and lifespan, the woodland vole serves as a prime example of certain species’ adaptation to their environment. Woodland voles experience a breeding cycle that begins in spring with mating season lasting from April to September.

During this period, males exhibit territorial behavior and engage in aggression against competitors for mates through vocalizations and physical fights. Females can produce up to three litters per year with each litter containing an average of six young.

Juvenile development is rapid; newborns reach adulthood after 40-50 days when they weigh approximately 18 grams. The mortality rate among juvenile voles is high due to predation by raptors or snakes, but adults may live up to one year in the wild.

Their lifespan expectancy depends on various factors such as food availability, weather conditions, and competition for resources which makes it hard to estimate accurately how long they can survive outside captivity.

Environmental stressors also contribute significantly to reduced longevity among adult voles: temperatures below 0°C can cause death within 24 hours while prolonged exposure above 30°C leads to dehydration and increases the risk of fatal heat stroke. Additionally, parasites like ticks or fleas have been known to reduce survival rates even further if no preventive measures are taken.

Diet And Feeding Habits

The woodland vole is primarily an herbivore, feeding on a variety of roots, seeds, grasses, bulbs, and bark. Roots are consumed in large quantities as they provide the most energy for their weight. Seed-eating occurs less frequently than root-eating but still contributes to the majority of the woodland vole’s diet.

They have also been known to consume grasses and other vegetation during times when food supplies are limited or scarce. Bulb-eating has also been observed at certain points in time, although it does not constitute a significant part of the woodland vole’s overall dietary intake. Finally, bark-eating may occur occasionally if there is no other available food source present.

Overall, it can be seen that the woodland voles feed on a wide range of herbs and plant material depending on what is seasonally available in their habitat. It should also be noted that these animals will often cache any surplus food items in order to prepare for periods with less abundant resources.

While this caching behavior helps them survive unfavorable conditions such as droughts or overly wet weather patterns, it can lead to quite extensive damage to various gardens and crops throughout its range. As such, while they are beneficial species due to their role within ecosystems, they must be managed carefully by landowners so as not to cause excessive destruction of valuable plants and shrubs.

Woodland vole

Predators And Prey

Woodland voles are small mammals that inhabit a wide range of terrestrial habitats, from grasslands to forests. They play an important role in many ecosystems as both prey and predators for other animals. The population size of woodland voles is highly variable, but on average 15 individuals per hectare can be found in their habitat.

Predators of woodland voles include birds such as owls or hawks, snakes like garter or rat snakes, foxes, coyotes and bears. These animals will hunt voles by searching burrows they create underground or by waiting around known vole trails.

Depending on what type of predator it is will determine what types of food they eat. For example, birds may feed on field mice and insects while snakes may consume larvae, insects and nests.

Other predators such as foxes prefer to feast on small mammals and reptiles while coyotes have been observed eating rodents along with fruits when available. Lastly, bears tend to look for berries, roots and even insects when hunting woodland voles.

The main source of defense for the woodland vole is its ability to hide in dense vegetation or dig complex networks of tunnels in order to evade capture from its predators. In addition to hiding from predation attempts these small creatures also rely heavily on their sense of hearing which helps them detect any potential danger nearby allowing them time to escape if necessary.

This has allowed the species to survive for thousands of years in the wild despite facing pressure from larger carnivorous animals looking for an easy meal.

Woodland voles make up an essential part of local ecosystems due to their presence being both preyed upon as well as acting as predators themselves depending on where they inhabit within a certain area’s food chain hierarchy.

As one can see these tiny mammals may not appear significant at first glance yet they are vital components that need protecting so future generations can continue to benefit from their existence in the wilds of North America and beyond.

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the woodland vole is a cause for concern due to population declines. The species has been listed as an endangered mammal in some areas, making it a focus for conservation efforts. Protection and management of habitat are essential components of any successful conservation strategy; however, other measures such as reintroduction programs have also been suggested by experts.

Habitat loss through fragmentation or degradation is one of the primary factors contributing to the decline in woodland vole populations. Therefore, protecting existing suitable habitats and restoring degraded ones is critical to ensure long-term survival of this species. In addition, controlling predators that may be impacting local populations should be considered when developing conservation strategies.

Conservationists must continue working together with land managers and decision makers to develop effective protection plans that will benefit both the environment and the species at risk. It is important to understand how different actions can influence woodland voles so appropriate solutions can be implemented quickly and effectively before further population declines occur.


The woodland vole is a small rodent that inhabits North American woodlands and grassy areas. It has short, dense fur in shades of brown with grey patches on its back. The head and body length range from 4-8 inches, while the tail typically measures 2-3 inches long. Woodland voles reproduce rapidly, with an average lifespan of 1 to 2 years; females can produce up to four litters per year consisting of 3-7 young each.

Woodland voles are primarily herbivorous animals feeding on leaves, stems, roots, bulbs, fungi and fruits found in their habitat. They are preyed upon by snakes, birds of prey, cats and foxes among other predators. Due to their fast reproduction rate they have become quite abundant providing a sustainable food source for many species higher up the food chain.

In terms of conservation status the woodland vole is considered a species of least concern as it remains widespread throughout much of its natural range. Although subject to localized threats due to human activities such as deforestation or land use changes this resilient species continues to thrive across North America today.