Pesky voles

It’s been a winter wonderland out there, but I know from bitter experience about the subterranean goings on… Beneath the snow cover, my local meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus, are running wild. Come the melt, I’ll see their vole runs everywhere. Perennials will be destroyed, shrub bark gnawed and they’ll have somehow made it past my welded wire cloth into the fenced garden. Come spring, I’ll be bringing up hairless pink vole babies as I weed out and dig beds. Yuck.

Voles are not mice. They are rodents which are rounder, stouter and have shorter tails and smaller ears and eyes than mice. They chew roots, stems, bulbs, leaves and bark, nuts and fruit and supposedly aren’t above eating dead animals. (Eeew.) They can have  five to ten litters per year with up to ten babies each time. Add up the numbers…

Vole populations have their ups and downs. Some years I hardly notice beyond seeing trais and other years they are everywhere raising havoc.  Voles are part of the food chain for local predators like foxes and hawks, but otherwise exclusion seems to be *my* best bet given the large space. Or maybe encourage the predatory guinea fowl next door.

Here’s an article: Pesky voles love the snow cover

Vole trails after snow melt

Vole trails after snow melt

 

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