The meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus), known also as the field mouse, boasts an incredible home range, found throughout the United States and even as far north as Alaska and northern sections of the Yukon. Meadow voles may be found in a wide diversity of habitats, including grassy fields, woodlands, marshes, and along ponds and streams.
Counting the tail, meadow voles rarely exceed seven inches long and usually weigh less than an ounce or two. Coloration of individuals can vary from a light yellow-brown to an almost black-brown, a stark contrast against their gray underbellies.
Meadow voles make nests in clumps dry grass, sedges, and weeds and also dig burrows, for protection, winter food storage and birthing young. These extensive underground networks Meadow Voles additionally construct tunnels, depending on the season, beneath the snow and grass allowing them to move between their bedding and feeding areas without being easily detected by predators.
Meadow voles do not usually store food and must continually search for food to satisfy their voracious appetites. Meadow voles daily consume their equivalent weight in seeds, clover, leaves, bark, bulbs, and sometimes insects and animal remains. In agricultural areas with high populations of meadow voles, they can cause extensive damage to young fruit trees and crops.
Prolific breeders, a single female meadow vole can have 12 litters a year, birthing as many as 80 young in a single season. Young reach adulthood in approximately 12 weeks depending on environmental factors, leaving the nest soon after. Most meadow voles live a year to a year and a half with 88% dying within the first 30 days after birth due to high rates of predation by hawks, owls, snakes, fox, raccoons and coyotes who all rely heavily on this vast food source for their own survival.
Wildlife Quiz Questions:
1. What is another name for the meadow vole?
2. What is the home range of the meadow vole?
3. In what habitats does the meadow vole live?
4. How long is a meadow vole?
5. How much does a meadow vole weigh?
6. What do meadow voles eat?
7. How many litters can a single female meadow vole have in a year?
8. How long can a meadow vole live?
Wildlife Quiz Answers:
1. Another name for the meadow vole is field mouse.
2. The home range, of the meadow vole is throughout the United States and as far north as Alaska and northern sections of the Yukon.
3. Meadow voles may be found in a wide diversity of habitats, including grassy fields, woodlands, marshes, and along ponds and streams.
4. Counting the tail, meadow voles rarely exceed seven inches long.
5. Meadow voles rarely exceed an ounce or two in weight.
6. Meadow voles eat seeds, clover, leaves, bark, bulbs, and sometimes insects and animal remains.
7. A single female meadow vole can have 12 litters a year.
8. A meadow vole can live a year to a year and a half.