Fisheries and Land Resources

Meadow Vole

Meadow Vole
Meadow Vole

Microtus pennsylvanicus

Status

Native to both Newfoundland and Labrador.

Habitat

Wet meadows and open grassland near streams, lakes, ponds and swamps. Occurs sparingly in mature forests in Newfoundland. Overhead grass cover is essential. The vole is a good swimmer and makes burrows just under the surface of the ground.

Range

Found all throughout Canada

Food

Eats mainly herbaceous vegetation, grasses, sedges, fruits, seeds, grain and some snails and insects

Predators/Threats

Many carnivorous animals such as owls, snakes, fish, weasels, and marten (especially in Newfoundland).

Lifespan

No longer than a year in the wild and up to several years in captivity.

Appearance

Long, soft, dense, rusty brown fur. In winter, the coat is longer and greyer.

Breeding Biology

Born any month of the year, but usually May through September. Three to five young are born per litter and up to 4 litters per year.

Average Weight/Measurements

Size varies considerably depending on availability of food, geography and population. Average length is (6.5 inches)(163 mm) and average weight is (.0805 lbs)(36.5 g).

Notes:

  • In Newfoundland this is the only native small mammal prey of carnivores.
  • This prey species is very important to the endangered pine marten's diet in Newfoundland.
  • Voles have a population cycle of around four-year intervals.
  • At population peak and in preferred habitat, vole populations may be as high as 400 voles/acre or around 200 voles for an area as large as an average home lot!
  • Following snow melt in Spring, vole tunnels in grassy areas are readily seen during high population years.

At Salmonier Nature Park

  • Although voles are native to Salmonier Nature Park, their numbers are rarely high since a scarcity of suitable habitat exists.
  • One male and two females are placed in the enclosure in June of each year. However, by late summer, the numbers have been known to increase to more than two dozen. All animals are released to the wild in the Fall.

 

 
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