Wildlife Wednesday: Baby field vole

The other day I discovered this tiny baby field vole under a piece of wood in the grassy area of the wood. There are loads of these little cuties in the wood and they can often be seen under the bird feeders eating seed that has dropped. I scooped her up into a tub then and popped her in a glass tank filled with foliage to simulate her natural environment so I could take a few snaps on the camera. She’s about half the size of an adult vole, measuring around 4cm in length; tiny!

Voles are herbivores and predominantly eat grasses but they will nibble on vegetables, seeds and nuts. I put some bird seed, grass and off cuts of veg into the tank to persuade the little vole to hold still for the camera. She got munching on the seed right away, creating a cute fluffy ball-like shape while she ate. After what must have been 10 minutes of serious seed munching she started to explore the tank; climbing over the bit of wood, tunneling into the pile of leaves and taking a bite of pretty much everything she walked past.

Here as some of the pictures I managed to snap of her while she was still (ish).

Baby vole in the bucket I scooped her up with

The tank set up to mimic her natural habitat

Look at those tiny paws!

Her perfectly round bottom while eating

The field vole is widespread across mainland UK and is thought be the most common British mammal. They can be easily distinguished from mice by their short tale, rounded nose and less prominent ears and eyes. Notice in the photos how the ears are not easily distinguishable from the rest of her body. Sadly they only live for around a year on average but mother voles make up for this by having up to 6 litters a year, each with 4 or 5 young. That’s around 30 babies a year!

After a few hours she had made a nest of grass under the loose bit of bark, frequently popping out for bits of food or foliage to drag into her nest. She looked so cosy I didn’t want to make her go back outside in the wet weather so kept her in the tank for a couple of days while the end of the hurricane and rain passed. Last night I popped her back where I found her. Fingers crossed she grows up safely in the garden!

By Jenni Tulip

I'm a bright-haired, hill walking, magpie whispering, skull collecting, tree hugging, money saving, bird watching, happy campervanning, ferret fanatic, woodland dweller sharing my stories and passion for the outdoors to inspire you to immerse yourself in nature.

  • You would really like my daughter, Elizabeth. She's about the same age as you, and shares your love of nature and the outdoors. Elizabeth rescues animals in distress. That's how I got into ferrets, she lived in an apartment and would get ferrets people had cast off or abandoned, but she couldn't keep them there so I took them up here on the mountain. Elizabeth likes tiny animals, but she doesn't hold back on the big ones, she rescued a starving, ill horse and now "Seamus" and she are best friends, he lives in a stable about a mile from her house.

    I like your pictures. I only have a cheap, old camera I got at Walmart. You obviously have a good one and the skills to use it.

  • What a really lovely little vole. I have never actually seen one in the wild. She looks so cosy in her tank, glad you kept her safe from the horrid weather

  • Oh she is adorable.
    I love how you look after the little wildlings like this πŸ™‚

  • Thank you for your kind comments Harry. I'm actually surprised you have complimented my photos. I feel they are poor compared to many of the blogs I read. I just can't get the hang of my camera. It's a DSLR and is 10 years old now but still works fine.

    Elizabeth sounds like a lady I would get on very well with! I take it she is across the pond too? Ferrets and mountains sounds like my perfect combination πŸ™‚

  • Hi Alison. You could lay down a bit of corrugated sheet on the grass in your garden to attract them πŸ™‚

  • Isn't she just?! I love little wildlings πŸ™‚