Woodland Vole

Microtus pinetorum
Chuck Fergus

Also called the pine vole, this species is found in the Midwest, the East and New England. In Pennsylvania it is statewide, with the greatest numbers in the southeastern lowlands. Microtus pinetorum is Pennsylvania’s smallest vole: length, 4.3 -5.5 inches; tail, 0.7 - 1 inch; weight, 0.9 - 1.3 ounces. Its soft, glossy fur is chestnut brown on the upper parts and gray on the belly. Preferred habitats include wooded bottomlands; hemlock and hardwood forests; old fields, thickets, fencerows and farmland edges; and orchards.

The woodland vole is a molelike species that burrows beneath the soil just below the leaf litter. It breaks up the dirt with its head, incisors and forefeet, turns around, and shoves the dirt out the tunnel’s entry, forming a cone-shaped pile two or three inches high. Meadow voles, hairy-tailed moles and shrews use the burrows of Microtus pinetorum. Woodland voles seldom leave their burrows, and an individual’s home range is small, around a hundred feet in diameter.

Foods include roots, stems, leaves, seeds, fruits and tree bark; in gardens, potatoes and flower bulbs are eaten. Woodland voles kill fruit trees by girdling the bark or damaging the roots. They cache food in storage chambers as deep as 18 inches underground, and they rear their young in nests under rocks, logs and stumps. Woodland voles breed less prolifically than other voles, bearing 1 - 4 litters per year, each with 1 - 5 young.

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Pennsylvania Game Commission
Bureau of Wildlife Management
Attn: Mammal Atlas Coordinator
2001 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, PA 17110
MammalAtlas@pa.gov
Pennsylvania Game Commission
Bureau of Wildlife Management
717-787-5529