Microtus pinetorum
(Le Conte, 1830)

mI-crO-tus pI-ne-tor-um

An adult Woodland Vole.
An adult Woodland Vole. Image by Matt Nordgren.

The woodland vole is a small, thick-bodied rodent that can be distinguished from other members of its family by: 1) very small eyes that are set in a comparatively large head, 2) ears that are partly hidden under its fur, 3) dense, velvety, smooth, dull reddish brown fur of the upperparts, 4) grayish buff underparts, 5) faintly bicolored tail (brownish above, dark gray below), less than twice the length of the hind foot, and 6) females having four nipples. Sexes are alike in size and color. Young are darker and more grayish than adults.

The woodland vole is found in the eastern third of the state where it lives in deciduous forests and forest edge, or in overgrown fields where the soils are soft and covered with leaf litter.

(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 429 Total Records 
  • 426 Museum Vouchers 
  • 3 Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Allen (2); Anderson (4); Atchison (1); Barber (1); Chase (1); Chautauqua (1); Cherokee (1); Cowley (22); Crawford (12); Doniphan (21); Douglas (93); Elk (2); Geary (2); Greenwood (189); Jackson (1); Jefferson (13); Johnson (4); Leavenworth (9); Linn (1); Lyon (5); Marshall (2); Miami (6); Montgomery (2); Osage (15); Riley (7); Sedgwick (1); Sumner (2); Wabaunsee (2); Woodson (2);

Natural History:
Runways, which are used almost exclusively by the woodland vole, differ from those of other voles in having deeper surface trails, and by being placed among trees and adjacent shrubby areas instead of in open grassland. At the forest edge both species may share the same runways. Woodland voles utilize subterranean burrows to a much greater extent than prairie voles, and its presence is difficult to detect. Dirt from the burrow system is pushed out of the ground by the front feet and considerable loose dirt is present in the vicinity of the burrow system. This excavated dirt adds to the fertility and aeration of the soil as well as checks water runoff. The spherical nest at the end of one of the subterranean burrows consists of dry grasses, leaves, and is lined with finer plant fibers. Surface nests are rarely used except those placed under pieces of bark or logs that lie on the forest floor. The vole is active day and night. It does not hibernate.
Adults may attain the following dimensions: total length 122-141 mm; tail 20-28 mm; hind foot 18-21 mm; ear 11-13 mm; weight 27-44 grams.
Food consists mostly of underground plant parts such as roots and tubers, as well as smaller amounts of surface food such as nuts, berries, and seeds. Occasionally invertebrates are consumed. Storage of food is commonly practiced by the woodland vole.
The woodland vole breeds throughout the year except in severe winters, and females may produce several litters. After a gestation period of 24 days, two to five (usually two or three) young are born hairless with eyes and ears closed. In seven days hair appears and their incisors erupt. Their ears open in eight days, and in nine to twelve days their eyes open. In three weeks they are weaned and in two months acquire adult fur and are already sexually mature.

Occurrence Activity:
Predators of the woodland vole include hawks, owls, snakes, weasels, skunks, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and raccoons.

1952 Cockrum, E. L. Mammals of Kansas. Univ. Kansas Publ. Mus. Nat. Hist. 7:1-303. ():
1981 Smolen, M.J American Society of Mammalogists, Mammalian Species 147. 1-7pp.
1986 Finck, E.J., Kaufman, D.W., Kaufman, G.A.; Gurtz, S.K.; Clark, B.K.; McLellan, L.J. and Clark, B.S. Mammals of the Konza Prairie Research Natural Area, Kansas The Prairie Naturalist 18():153-166
1993 Kaufman, D.W., Kaufman, G.A. and Finck, E.J. Small mammals of wooded habitats of the Konza Prairie Research Natural Area, Kansas The Prairie Naturalist 25():27-32
2009 Kaufman, D. W. and G. A. Kaufman The woodland vole on Konza Prairie Biological Station, Kansas Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 112(3-4):229-230
Account Last Updated:
7/13/2017 10:14:28 AM

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