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7 Fascinating Facts About Voles and Their Underground World

Voles: The Adorable but Deceptive Creatures Living Beneath Our Feet

Have you ever wondered about the creatures that live beneath our feet? Voles are just one of the many creatures that have adapted to living in underground colonies.

These tiny creatures lead quiet but busy lives, scavenging for food, and evading predators. In this article, we will look at some of the habits and characteristics of voles, as well as their techniques for avoiding predators.

Voles Habits and Characteristics

Voles are small rodents that resemble mice, but they have a few key differences. Voles have shorter tails and a rounder, plumper body shape than mice.

Unlike mice, voles have a more herbivorous diet, eating mainly roots and seeds. These animals prefer to live in colonies underground, where they can avoid predators and other dangers.

One of the most interesting aspects of voles is their role within their colonies. Voles have different roles, similar to ants and bees.

Some voles are responsible for scavenging for food, while others protect the colony from predators. Voles have even been observed to help care for the young in the colony.

Protection from Predators

Voles are not at the top of the food chain, and they have a long list of predators to worry about, from snakes to owls to weasels. To keep themselves safe, voles have developed several techniques for avoiding predators.

Voles prefer to stay underground as much as possible. Their burrows provide a safe haven where they can evade predators and stay hidden from view.

However, there are times when voles need to venture out of their burrows to find food or mate. In these cases, voles will use their keen senses to avoid predators.

They will look for hiding places, such as tall grass or bushes, to avoid being seen. Voles have also been known to build observation posts where they can spot predators from a safe distance.

Voles are also adept at hiding in plain sight. Some voles have fur that resembles the color of their surroundings, making them difficult to see.

Other voles will freeze in place when they sense danger, hoping to blend into their surroundings and avoid detection.


Voles may be small and relatively unknown creatures, but they are fascinating in their own right. Their habits and characteristics, along with their techniques for avoiding predators, make them incredibly adaptable creatures.

By learning more about these creatures, we can appreciate the diversity of life that exists even beneath our feet. So the next time you see a vole, take a moment to appreciate their quiet but bustling lives.

Voles Tunnel Systems: The Intricate Labyrinth Beneath Our Feet

The underground world of voles is a complex and intricate labyrinth. These tiny creatures have adapted to living in colonies underground, burrowing tunnels and creating an extensive network of burrows.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the tunnel systems of voles, looking at their complexity and how they are used for different purposes.

Voles create complex tunnel systems

Voles are remarkable tunnel builders, creating an extensive network of tunnels, burrows, and dens. Their tunnel systems are incredibly complex, often containing multiple levels, entrances and exits, and chambers for different purposes.

Vole tunnels are typically only a few inches wide and can be up to 12 inches deep. Voles are known to modify their burrow systems over time to adapt to different environmental conditions.

For example, if a new food source becomes available, voles will create a new tunnel system that connects with it. If predator pressure becomes too high, voles will change the location of their entrances and exits to make it more difficult for predators to find them.

Voles dig burrows near food sources

Voles are incredibly resourceful when it comes to finding food. They will dig burrows near food sources, such as vegetable gardens or fields, to make it easier to access their food.

Voled often forage at night and use their complex tunnel systems to move around freely, accessing different food sources while staying hidden from predators.

Voles nest underground

Voles use their tunnel systems not only for accessing food sources but also for nesting and raising their young. Vole mothers create nesting chambers deep within their burrow systems, where they give birth to their young and keep them safe from predators.

As their young grow, voles will create additional nesting chambers to accommodate them.

Reasons for Voles Above Ground

While voles prefer to stay underground, there are instances when they will come to the surface. These instances often signify a change in environmental conditions or a need to find new food sources.

Voles will come above ground to find a new habitat or food source

When food sources become scarce or the environment changes, voles may need to find a new habitat or food source. This can lead them to travel above ground to find a new place to live or forage.

When voles do come above ground, they are often vulnerable to predators that are not used to seeing them.

Voles come to the surface during winter months

During the winter months, voles may come to the surface due to snow cover. When the ground is covered in snow, it is difficult for voles to move through their tunnel systems.

In these instances, voles will travel above ground, making it easier for them to get around and access food.

Voles will girdle trees when vegetation is scarce

In times of extreme vegetation scarcity, voles may resort to girdling trees. Girdling is the process of removing the bark from a tree’s trunk, which can ultimately kill the tree.

This behavior is not uncommon in voles, as it provides an emergency source of food when other sources are unavailable.


The tunnel systems created by voles are impressive and intricate, providing them with safety, shelter, and access to food. These networks are constantly changing and adapting to meet the needs of the colony.

Understanding the tunnel systems of voles can help us appreciate the complexity of the natural world and the diversity of life that exists under our feet. Getting Rid of Voles: Prevention and Removal Options

Voles can be a pesky creature for gardeners and homeowners as they can cause extensive damage to lawns and gardens.

These small creatures can quickly create underground tunnel systems and burrow systems that can become a nuisance. In this article, we will explore various methods that can help deter voles from damaging your property and how to remove them if they have already taken up residence.

Ground cover can deter voles

One of the most effective ways to deter voles is to change your landscaping. Ground cover plants such as thyme, rosemary, and mint can be effective against voles.

These plants have an aroma that voles do not like, and can also provide a visual barrier that voles find difficult to navigate through. Installing ground covers can help to mitigate damage in areas where voles might be present.

Removing protections will cause voles to move elsewhere

Voles live and burrow underground to protect themselves from predators. When a vole’s safe environment is threatened, they will move on to a new location.

One method of getting rid of unwanted voles is to remove any protections that they have, such as ground cover or dense foliage, forcing them to move elsewhere. This method can be effective if there are few other suitable locations for the voles to move to in the area.

Simple preventative measures can keep voles away

Another way to deter voles from entering your property is by taking simple preventative measures. Keeping your lawn mowed, removing any fallen debris, and not overwatering can keep the ground dry and less appealing for voles.

Also, keeping vegetation away from the base of your trees and shrubs so that it is not serving as a concealment factor’ can help.

Adaptations and Predators

Voles have a few adaptations that help protect them from predators. When above ground, voles will often remain motionless to blend in with their surroundings.

This behavior, called freezing, allows them to avoid detection by predators such as birds of prey. When voles detect a predator, they often take refuge in their underground burrows, which provide them with safety.

Predatory birds are a common predator of voles. Hawks, owls, and other birds of prey target voles as a food source.

It is beneficial for homeowners, especially those in rural areas, to encourage the presence of predatory birds to help regulate the population of voles.

Experts recommend contacting professionals for removal

When it comes to removing voles from your property, it is better to call professionals like pest control companies. Professionals have the expertise to identify and locate the burrow system and can use the appropriate methods to remove the voles safely.


Voles have adaptive behaviors that can make them difficult to control and eliminate. The use of ground cover plants, removal of protection, and simple preventative measures can help deter voles from your landscaping.

It is also important to encourage predator birds on your property to help keep the vole population in check. If voles become a serious problem, it is best to contact professionals like pest control companies to take care of the problem.

In conclusion, voles are small rodents that have adapted to living underground in complex tunnel systems. They are herbivores that scavenge for food and have different roles in their colonies.

Voles protect themselves by freezing in place when they sense danger and hiding in plain sight. If you are looking to deter voles, ground cover, removing protections, and taking preventative measures can all be effective.

Keeping vegetation away from the base of trees and shrubs and encouraging the presence of predatory birds can also help. Finally, if voles become a severe problem, professional removal is recommended.

Understanding voles and their unique characteristics can help homeowners and gardeners mitigate the damage they can cause and appreciate the diversity of life that exists beneath our feet.

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