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pine vole (Microtus pinetorum scalapsoides)

Distribution Map

Distribution Map

Characteristics

This is a small mouse with a short tail and a total length of 100 -145 mm long and a weight of 21-56 grams. . The body is cylindrical, slender, and modified for a semi-fossorial life. Their auburn fur is soft and thick, and does not have the scattered long guard hairs found in most other voles. The ears and eyes are reduced in size. The breeding season is likely to be throughout the year with a peak in July with 1-4 litters of 3-4 young being produced each year. A single burrow system and nest may accommodate social groups containing many adults of both sexes and their young. Primary predators include barn owl, long-eared owl, screech owl, red-tailed hawk, broad-winged hawk, marsh hawk, pilot black snake, red fox, and gray fox. Densities are usually greater in orchards than in natural hardwood forest. The life span is at least 18 months.

Distribution

This subspecies occurs throughout the state except in the very western and southern sections of the state. This species can occur in a variety of habitats from deciduous and pine forest to grassy fields. It prefers habitats with well drained soils and a thick ground cover of either forest litter or vegetation. High densities are found in orchards the since the food supply is greater, and because grass and forb growth is enhanced by frequent mowing and fertilization.

Foods

Grasses and forbs are the main part of the diet for voles that live in orchards. For those that live in deciduous or pine forest the diet consists of forbs and seeds. Grasses and forbs are consumed in the summer followed by fruit and seeds in autumn, and bark and roots in the winter.

More Information

For more information, please visit the Virginia Fish & Wildlife Information Service (direct link to species booklet).