Field Guide/Mammals/Rock Vole

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Microtus chrotorrhinus (Rock Vole)
Family: Cricetidae
Size: Weight is 1.1-1.7 oz (30-40g). Length is 5.5-7.3 in. (140-185mm). Tail Length is 1.7-2.5in (42-64mm).
Description: Vole’s nose is orange-yellow hue. Fur is yellowish, grayish brown except on the stomach which is a silvery gray.
Similar Species: Vole’s nose is orange-yellow hue, differentiating it from any other vole.[1]

Range: Is found in northeast Canada down to northeastern Minnesota. Also found in South Carolina and Tenessee.
Habitat: Lives around rocks and boulders in coniferous forests near water and mosses they eat and other plants.
Diet: Fungi, fruits, and vegetation. Cuts pieces off and moves between rocks to eat.
Activity: Rock voles do not hibernate. They are active throughout both day and night, possibly eating more during the morning than any other time.[1]

Reproduction: Breeding season from March until October. 2-3 litters of an average 3-4 young each time. Gestation period is about 20 days.[1]
Lifespan: Average lifespan is less than one year.[2]

Notes: Rock voles, also known as Southern rock voles, are hard to assess as far as population numbers go. They are thought to be slowly declining in numbers due to multiple reasons. Optimal nesting sites for rock voles is near moving water, ferns, and mosses. The nests of rock voles are based around logs, boulders, and other protected places. They are known for living in the higher elevations in the Appalachians and the coniferous forests of Canada. They will use tunnels made by other burrowing animals underground. The primary competitors of rock voles are the red-blacked vole, shrews, the deer mouse, and deer. They also have to worry about parasites such as tapeworms, roundworms, fleas, mites, ticks, and fleas. Ski developments are having a negative impact on the populations of rock voles while logging seems to increase the population numbers of the rock vole population greatly. The best populations and habitats of rock voles are found in the northern range of North America, but there are also smaller populations in the eastern and southern range. The rock vole is not a highly populated specie but are so spread out throughout the continent and can adapt to many habitats so they are not at risk of extinction.[2]
Rock Vole, Microtus chrotorrhinus

  1. a b c Saunders, D. A. (1988), Rock vole (microtus chrotorrhinus miller), http://www.esf.edu/aec/adks/mammals/rock_vole.htm, retrieved October 1, 2012 
  2. a b Linzey, A. V. (2008), Microtus chrotorrhinus, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/42626/0, retrieved October 1, 2012