Voles look like a mouse but can be as big as a rat. The vole has a round, stout body; grey or brown fur; short tail and legs; blunt nose; tiny eyes and fur-covered ears. In North America, there are 24 species which are native but only 7 are common. The one you may see will depend on where you live. The Californian vole gets its name obviously.
Where do voles live?
Voles are burrowing creatures, they live in a community or colony underground, although they are not permanently underground, so their actual categorization is semifossorial or partly burrowing.
It is this burrowing quality that makes people need to know how to get rid of voles as they can undermine foundations, ruin gardens and generally cause a problem when close to homes or the golf course.
A Vole’s Diet
By choice voles are vegetarian. On occasion, they will eat insects and small animals, but their preference is grasses, bulbs, seeds and even tree bark.
How big a problem are they?
Unfortunately, quite a big problem, so it is important to know how to get rid of voles. They don’t hibernate and, they are also prolific breeders. One single breeding pair can produce as many as 10 litters a year with up to 6 young per litter.
With two pairs in your garden, you could have 120 additional voles in a year! The highest density recorded is 2,000 voles in an acre. A vole has a home range of about 0.25/ acre, so 2,000 in an acre is like the population of a small Chinese city.
As they live underground or undercover vole damage is often not evident until it is suddenly a big problem and major damage has occurred. So, it is important to recognize the signs of damage.
Keep a lookout for stolen bulbs. Although could be other critters and not just voles. Other signs of voles are 1.5-inch holes in the lawn. Also look for gnaw marks on trees and stems at ground level and plants which are yellowed.