The bank vole

By David Chapman

Autumn is the best time to spot one of these tiny creatures enjoying nature's bounty.
Bank voleBank vole
There are plenty of creatures in your garden that might be going nuts this autumn but of these the bank vole is one of the smallest.

Voles can be recognised from mice because they are smaller, have much shorter tails and blunt noses giving them a stubby appearance.

At the other extreme shrews are even smaller than voles and have very pointed noses but they tend to be secretive making it unusual to see them.

There are just two types of vole that can be seen in gardens. Of the two, field voles are much the commoner in Britain but because they are found in expanses of long grass they are infrequently found in gardens.

The bank vole, on the other hand, lives in holes dug into hedge banks, under sheds, amongst tree roots, in log piles and various other locations which are more readily found in gardens.

Autumn is a time of plenty for bank voles since they eat nuts and berries from the hedgerows but because they also feed on spillage from bird feeders we have a reasonable chance of seeing one.

They are active day and night but are most commonly seen at dusk, so if you have time to relax and gaze out of the patio windows whilst having supper you may see a bank vole doing the same!

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  • Lyn Lewis

    Posted: Wednesday 02 October 2013

    Regarding the Bank Vole. Since April,I witnessed a small mammal running (with great speed) up the bird feeder and after,ran down and behind my shed. This went on for a few days. On 1st October,I witnessed this again only, this time, the mammal had become larger and, it appeared to be a different colour. It has quite a long tail (not too long) but I wouldn't have described this "Vole", as a "short tailed Vole", however, re the Bank Vole, I am confused now as, I continue to read of short tails.

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