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Common vole (Microtus arvalis)


The common vole, like the European water vole, belongs to the family Arvicolidae (voles, lemmings, muskrats) and lives above all in perennial grassland. These vegetarian animals form colonies and build systems of underground passages down to a depth of 50 cm. The animals’ bodies tend to be plump and low-slung, with a wide head and small ears. Body length is approx. 9 to 10 cm, tail length approx. 4 cm. The colour of the coat varies widely, usually yellow-brown or yellow-grey, tending to light grey on the underside. The females bear 3 to 7 litters of 3-9 young per year. Due to their high level of fecundity, these animals tend to mass reproductive outbreaks, so-called “mouse years”. They live outdoors as a rule, but sometimes seek temporary shelter in stalls, barns, sheds or houses in the winter.


Above all in years of mass reproduction, the common vole can cause major crop damage by feeding on green parts of plants, root and tuber crops, seeds, roots, bulbs and tree bark.