Common Vole Species

Voles are small rodents similar in appearance to mice and rats. There are several common types found throughout the U.S. including meadow voles, prairie voles, water voles, and woodland voles. All of them share common characteristics, like their burrowing and plant-based diets, and most species are considered nuisances as they damage yards, gardens, crops, and ornamental plants. Identifying the type of vole is an important first step in removing unwanted infestations.

Meadow & Woodland Voles

The eastern half of the country harbors a widespread population of meadow voles, which are the most numerous species in North America. They make their homes in open woodlands, grassy lawns, and damp environments like marshes. Woodland voles are also common throughout the area, and they prefer to live in forests with copious amounts of leaf litter on the ground. Woodland voles are one of the smallest species, usually measuring less than four inches in length.

Water & Prairie Voles

The largest species in North America is the water vole, which grows as large as eight or nine inches. They are adept swimmers and are found near streams and alpine meadows in the Northwest. Finally, prairie voles are common throughout the central regions of the country. As their name suggests, they prefer open prairies and grassland such as pastures, golf courses, and grassy fields. Prairie voles are one of the few species of animals, including humans, swans, and beavers, that mate for life.