Bank Vole

Latin name: 

Myodes glareolus

Bluebells in woodland. Photograph by John Evans

Bank Vole, by John Harding

The Bank Vole is widespread through Britain but not found in Northern Ireland. 

Description

Bank Voles are easily confused with Field Voles. They are larger than Field Voles, measuring about 13 to 17 cm long. They have small eyes, small ears and a blunt snout. Adult Bank Voles have a rich chestnut-brown back compared to the grey-brown fur of the Field Vole. They also have a much longer tail than the Field Vole.

Ecology

Bank Voles prefer deciduous woodland but use many other habitats including gardens as long as there is thick ground cover. They nest in underground burrows.

Behaviour

Bank Voles generally forage during dawn and dusk. They eat berries, seeds, leaves and some insects, and though they are mostly found on the ground, they will climb for hedgerow fruits.

They breed between March and October, having 5-6 litters with 4-5 young in each. The breeding period sometimes extends into the winter if there is enough food.

Reporting rate

The Bank Vole reporting rate graph reflects the low detectability of the species and shows strong seasonality peaking in the summer. One reason that they may not be seen so much during winter is that they often store food during the winter to help them survive the winter as they are herbivores and therefore food becomes more scarce.  However, this scarcity of food also means that there is a high mortality rate of Bank Voles during the winter, reducing the population overall.