(Vól Bruaigh ) --:
Voles are small, tubby animals about 10cm (4 inches) long. Voles have a
short, round head, small eyes and ears, and a fat roundy body covered by
thick fur. The only vole found in Ireland is the Bank vole. The coat is
usually a chestnut brown and the underside is a creamy colour. Ears and tail
are covered in fur. Voles live in all the cooler countries of the world. The
vole eats leaves, grasses, insects and fruit.
It was only discovered here in 1964 and is thought to live only in the South
- West. It has also been recorded in Clare, Cork and parts of Tipperary.
Sometimes it shares tunnels made by moles. Bank voles dig out storerooms and
bedrooms from the burrows and line them with chewed grass. They can run,
climb, swim and jump. The meadow voles now live on the grassy slopes at
sides of motorways. They sit up and eat with their hands like squirrels. Water
voles are often called water rats. They are nearly twice the size of meadow
voles. They live in riverbanks where they dig deep burrows. The voles belong to the rodent family, like rats and mice and
are closely related to the lemming.
The voles breeding season is from April to September. During this time four
or five litters may be reared. The
average litter is four. Many of the young do not live to be big because
other larger animals like the stoat or fox eat them. The
nocturnal but may
day. Its nest
is made of
with feathers moss
or wool. Like mice
and other small mammals birds of prey and larger animals often eat the vole.
Being a good
can be seen
a vole, but I
would like to someday.