Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Vole Damage

The longevity of a vole changes slightly from species to species but on the whole voles are one of the shortest lived of mammals. Voles seldom live beyond a year and most do not survive more than two months. To counter their short life span voles have a condensed life cycle and individuals are sexually mature just a month after they are born. Breeding takes place all year round and females will usually mate immediately after giving birth.

Voles can eat their weight daily, and do not hibernate, though they sometimes store food such as seeds and other plant matter in underground chambers, they eat constantly. Voles concentrate on green vegetation in the summer, and switch to mostly grains and seeds in fall. They also eat bark and roots of trees, usually in fall or winter and this damage of trees categorizes them as a pest.

The majority of voles live in grassy areas but they can be found in a variety of environments such as rocky mountainsides, marshes, tundra and even trees. Like many other rodents voles are great burrowers, they live in networks of above-ground "runways" in grassy areas, as well as underground burrows. During the winter these "runways" are constructed through the snow that covers the ground.

Most damage occurs in the winter when voles move through their grass runways under the protection of snow. The reason this generally occurs is that the voles are able to stay hidden undercover from their predators. The animals that generally feed on voles are, Foxes, Coyotes and birds of prey.