A vole is a small rodent like creature that is often mistaken for a regular mouse at first glance. Like a similarly-sounding pest – the mole – it digs tunnels underground and causes lots of damage. Although they have similar names and similar digging behavior, moles and voles are actually not related at all.
While moles dig underground and eat grubs and bugs, voles actually dig underground and eat your landscaping. They love roots, seeds and bulbs and get a little more active in the winter when other food sources get scarce.
Florida has several different types of voles – the Florida Salt Marsh Vole, the Meadow Vole and the Pine Vole. Although similar in appearance to a mouse, they are often seen during the day, have smaller tails, and longer noses than a mouse. The vole is sometimes known as the field mouse or meadow mouse.
They are attracted to unkempt property that has high grasses, marshy areas and lots of weeds and they are also attracted to well maintained and landscaped properties as the lush plants provide a veritable vole buffet.
How to tell if you have voles on your property:
One of the biggest ways to tell if you have a vole problem is by looking for trails in the grass. These trails are usually sunken in as opposed to the raised trail that a mole makes. You can also find the entrance and exit holes in your yard if you look closely enough – they are about the size of a thumb.
Another way is to look for devastation. Your plants, flowers and shrubs seem to be eaten away. Smaller plants may die and you will see that the root system has been eaten away. You may also see the bark chewed off the bottom of trees as sometimes voles come up out of the nest for a tasty tree treat. Because they are so small and short, the damage to the trees is almost always close to the ground.
If you think you have a vole problem
If you suspect you have voles, call for help right away! Voles are voracious breeders. They multiple rapidly and soon completely take over your yard.
One note: The Florida salt marsh vole is actually an endangered species. They are currently only found on the Gulf Coast of Florida. They are not found in the Brevard county area. The voles found in Brevard County are the meadow voles – these are not endangered.