Often mistaken for a mouse, it is no wonder that the vole is commonly called a “field mouse” or “meadow mouse”. In fact, although related to mice, they have smaller ears, shorter tails and legs, a blunt nose and stocky bodies. The exact size and shape varies depending on which of the 100+ species you are dealing with, as will the habitat in which they may be found. There are prairie voles, meadow voles, water voles, mountain voles, tundra voles, and other types specific only to certain states.
The meadow vole and the pine vole are the most common voles in Tennessee. Pine voles spend most of their lives under the ground in burrows feeding on plant roots. You are more likely to see signs of voles than the voles themselves. You may spot one scurrying from one planting bed to another. These mouse-like rodents love to eat roots of lawn grass, trees and shrubs, flower bulbs and your favorite hostas!
Depending on the environment, voles are normally found in areas of dense vegetation. They dig short, shallow burrows and make underground nests of grass, stems and leaves. Several adults and young can occupy a single burrow system. Voles are classified as non-game mammals and are protected. However, they can be controlled when causing damage.