The bank vole

David Chapman

Autumn is the best time to spot one of these tiny creatures enjoying nature's bounty.

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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