Small Mammal Factfiles

Bank Vole
Latin Name: Myodes glareolus
Why placed at number one: very common and according to Gill Sinclair they often come to the same Longworth Trap on purpose, even if it’s far away (in Bank Vole terms)!
Length (approx.): 10 centimetres
Weight (approx.): 15.4 and 36 grams
Habitat: Gardens, Parks, Hedgerows, Woodland.
Description: The fur is more browny-red than Field Vole and longer tail too. Blunt nose distinguishes it from Apodemus sp.
See photo 2.
Habits: Coming to the same Longworth Trap, even if places far away. I have placed my Longworth Trap right outside a Field Vole run (about twenty metres away from a Bank Vole burrow), yet a Bank Vole still gets there first!
Does not hibernate in winter.
Predators: Weasel, Stoat, Rough-Legged Buzzard, Kestrel, Red Fox, American Mink and Tawny Owl. Weasels have been reported to go into Longworth Traps, following the smell of a Vole.
Red List Status: Least Concern 🙂
Subspecies?: Myodes glareolus skomerensis, found on the Isle of Skomer in Wales, up to 20,000 individuals in summer.
UK distribution: All over England, and most of Scotland. It has been introduced to South-West Ireland. Absent from most of the Outer Hebrides and similar islands, Isle of Man, Shetland and Orkney. Scarce in the North-West Highlands.
Lifespan: Up to 18 months.

Wood Mouse
Latin Name: Apodemus sylvaticus
Why placed at number 2: More wide-spread than Apodemus flavicollis and relatively common in gardens.
Length (approx.): 81-103mm (tail 71-95mm)
Weight (approx.): 13-27 grams
Habitat: Gardens and Urban, Grassland, Moorland, Farmland, Woodland, Upland
Description: Light brown fur, getting darker towards the spine and a very long tail. Large eyes and ears and white to light grey underside.
Habits: Often make hoards. In my garden I have watched Wood Mice come out and feed around both Field and Bank Vole holes. They sometimes block the entrances to their burrows with twigs and leaves in winter and late autumn. Twice I have caught a Wood Mouse and held it by the tail and it has shed some of the skin on its tail to escape. Both times it has, I have a photo of a mouse with a newly shed tail, picture seven on the project.
Predators: Foxes, Weasels, Owl sp. and Domestic Cats
Red List status: Least Concern 🙂
Subspecies?: Apodemus sylvaticus hirtensis, the St Kilda Field Mouse, brought to the island by Viking settlers.
UK Distribution: Throughout, even on smaller islands.
Lifespan: Adults rarely see two summers.

Field Vole
Latin Name: Microtus agrestis
Why placed at number 3: They don’t like to go in Longworth Traps very much, though are found more or less throughout the UK, unlike Apodemus sylvaticus.
Length (approx.):90-155mm (tail is less than 40% head and body length)
Weight (approx.): 20-40 grams
Habitat: Gardens, grassland, heathland, farmland, sometimes woodland.
Description: Furry ears, small eyes (diurnal rather than nocturnal), grey-cream on the underside, grey-brown on the upper side, shaggier fur so less prominent ears, tail much shorter than Bank Vole.
Habits: Grass is the main food, especially Bents and Fescues. There are thought to be 75 million individuals in Britain!
Predators: Kestrels, Owls, Red Foxes, Weasels, Stoats, Snakes.
Red List Status: Least Concern 🙂
Subspecies?: Microtus agrestis macgillivrayi is only found on Islay.
Distribution: Throughout England, absent from Ireland, Orkney, most of the Scottish Islands, Most of the Channel Islands and Scilly. A few records from the Isle of Man on NBN.
Life Span: 1 year on average.

Yellow-necked Mouse
Latin Name: Apodemus flavicollis
Why placed at number 4: Only caught once in my garden and only found in the south of England.
Length (approx.): 95-120mm
Weight (approx.): 14-45 grams
Habitat: Garden and Woodland, mainly on the woodland verges.
Description: A complete band of yellow fur is the easiest was to separate A. flavicollis from A. sylvaticus. Brown on the back and white on the underside.
Habits: Eats a lot of seeds. Apparently more arboreal than A. sylvaticus, but not much. Does not hibernate. It also shed its tail when it is caught by it.
Predators: Owls, Foxes, Weasels.
Red List Status: Least Concern 🙂
Subspecies?: No
Distribution: Found in the south of England, but absent from Mid Somerset and Dorset down to Land’s End and the Scilly Isles. It is also found in East Wales. Absent from the Isle of Wight.
Life Span: Few survive more than one year.

Orkney Vole
Latin Name: Microtus arvalis subsp. orcadensis
I don’t think there is enough data on this species to produce a full fact file.
The Orkney Vole is a subspecies of the Common Vole (Microtus arvalis) and can only be found on some Orkney Islands. It is believed to be introduced from mainland populations in Spain or France, and the date of introduction cannot be later than 4,600 years ago as this is the earliest record. In Orkney it can only be found on five islands: The Mainland, Sanday, Westray, Rousay and South Ronaldsay. They are larger than other populations of Common Voles.
DejayM found an Orkney Vole on the 18th June 2013 and its body measured 11.4 centimetres and its tail was 37mm.
Brown fur on the underside and short tail like M. agrestis. It is the only vole found in Orkney, so if you find a large vole running around on one of the five islands, it’s almost 100% an Orkney Vole.

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