What are voles? Even though they have a mouse-like appearance, voles are a different type of outdoor pest. If you think your yard has a vole invasion, take a look at the top questions homeowners have about these rodents.

Are Voles, Moles, and Mice the Same Animal?

Voles are rodents. While one can easily confuse voles with other rodents like mice and moles, these backyard pests aren’t the same animal. The top differences between voles and other common household rodents include:

  • Size. Adult voles are between five and seven inches long. Mice and moles are typically smaller than the full-grown adult vole.
  • Ears. Voles and mice have visible external ears, while moles don’t.
  • Tail length. Even though mice and voles both have the tails, the vole’s tail is much shorter than what you’d find on a mouse.
  • Snout. The vole has a rounded, blunt snout. In comparison, moles have longer snouts.

Along with their appearance, voles often have different habits than moles and mice. While you may find mice in your home (nesting or searching for food), voles typically stay outdoors. But this doesn’t mean they feast on the same buffet of bugs moles enjoy. Instead, voles are vegetarians that prefer your yard’s plants over grubs and other bugs.

Where Do Voles Live?

You already know voles are in your yard. But where do these rodents nest? Like the moles, the vole also lives underground. According to the Penn State Extension, the vole’s home range is typically under one-quarter acre. If your home is part of this rodent’s range, the vole in your yard:

  • Digs tunnels. The vole’s underground home includes a series of tunnels along with runways on the surface.
  • Creates a burrow. Tunnels are necessary to reach the vole’s underground home. This rodent invader builds a burrow under your yard. Each burrow can contain multiple adult voles and their offspring.
  • Builds a nest. Along with the underground burrow, voles also build nests of dry grass. These nests are typically between six and eight inches in size, according to the Penn State Extension.

If you’re not sure whether the holes in your yard belong to voles, moles, or another backyard pest, contact a professional. The pest control contractor can inspect your yard, look for signs of voles, and help you to take the next steps.

What Types of Damage Do Voles Cause?

Why do you need to remove voles from your yard? Even though the rodents aren’t likely to enter your home (like mice do) and are more content to live out of the way and underground, voles can still cause residential damage. The primary types of damage a vole can cause include:

  • Bark destruction. Voles gnaw on the bark of trees. Whether you have saplings or older trees, the vole can cause serious damage.
  • Root destruction. Bark isn’t the only part of the tree voles gnaw on. These rodents also eat underground roots.
  • Lawn issues. Along with tree bark, voles may also eat grass. This habit can destroy your lawn or cause bare spots.
  • Plant problems. The vegetarian rodent also feasts on some types of backyard greenery — especially if you grow fruits or vegetables.

Vole damage typically remains in the outdoor area. These pests won’t destroy or your home or pose a major threat to your family. While the vole can carry diseases such as tularemia, they prefer to stay away from people. If you do see voles in your yard, don’t approach the animals. Vole removal is best left to the pest control professional.

Does your yard have a vole infestation?

Contact Environmental Services Pest Control, LLC for more information.