Seeing a small creature dart across the floor or finding the burrows they dig in your yard you wonder if it's mice or voles. Both of these pests belong to the class of rodents, making it difficult to distinguish one of the furry rodents from another.

To the inexperienced observer, mice, and voles appear similar. However, there are distinct differences between these rodents that can help you tell them apart.

The following sections will help clarify these characteristics and help you identify which pest you have to aid with the proper pest control measures.

Vole vs Mouse: Key Differences for Property Owners

Voles and mice are small rodents approximately four inches long to almost eight inches long. They have gray or brown fur, making it hard to distinguish them from each other.

The most distinguishable characteristic between voles and mice is that voles have stocky bodies. They also have shorter tails, large eyes, short legs, and less prominent ears than mice have.

Occasionally, you might find mice or voles inside your home. Mice thrive wherever there is a food supply, water, and shelter, things your home or barn has plenty of.

You aren't likely to find a vole indoors because typically, voles prefer the outdoors. They like digging and tunneling through roots, leaving dead grass in lawns in what is called runways. They enjoy eating different garden plants and tree bark.

The Main Differences Between Vole vs Mouse

Vole vs Mouse-What is the Difference Between Mice and Voles

When we compare vole vs mouse, we can begin with the families of vole vs mouse. Mice are small, furry rodents belonging to the Muridae family. While voles are part of the Cricetidae clan. Another comparison of vole vs mouse, is appearance. Voles and mice look alike to an unknowing eye, but there are several dissimilarities.

First, let's look at the tail length of the vole and a mouse. Voles have shorter tails, and mice have longer tails. is at least as long as its body. On average, vole tails are half its body length.

Another differing factor in these two rodents is voles have stocky, thicker bodies and short legs. They usually have smaller ears and a body length of about three to nine inches long.

Behavior Differences Between Voles and Mice

There are so many different species of these two animals worldwide. Both create issues for people, however, these issues are primarily established by key differences that have previously been discussed.

As far as voles' behavior, they can wreak havoc on your yard due to their constant burrowing to form runways in lawns. In addition, they consume your garden plants and eat the bark off your trees.

Mice typically gets inside homes and will seek out food sources inside the pantry, and search for nesting materials.

As far as the social behavior of voles and mice, it is rather different. Mice are more the lone wolf type, while voles prefer living in complex social groups. These differences are most likely the result of the type of predators facing each species.

Vole vs Mouse: Face and Body Appearance

The more common house mouse, white-footed mouse, dear mouse, cotton mouse, woodland jumping mouse, cactus mouse, harvest mouse, and California mouse are all species found in the United States. These mice share one physical trait- large, rounded ears, a pointy or triangle-shaped snout, and a long, skinny, hairy tail. Mice have mostly gray, white, or brown fur; some have cream-colored bellies.

The tails of vole species average about half the length of the body, making them considerably shorter than a mouse's tail. Additionally, voles have significantly smaller eyes and ears. A vole is about the size of field mice but has thicker bodies. Knowing these characteristics should make it easier to distinguish which rodent type you are infested with.

The slender body of mice are typically smaller, about two-and-a-half to four inches long. Their long thin tails add two to four inches to this length. Mice have round small ears and a snout that is pointed or triangle-shaped. Voles have stocky bodies and shorter tails and legs.

Grassy areas are a Preferred Habitat for Voles

Grassy areas are a Preferred Habitat for Voles

Besides having different characteristics, mice, and voles also thrive on different habits, this includes habitat and food sources.

Voles are typically discovered in grassy areas of a garden or a place with weed covering. In addition, voles are known to take over an abandoned tunnel previously dug out by moles.

Do Voles Come in the House?

Because voles don't hibernate during the colder months, they are active all year round. They also reproduce all year, producing several litters every year. Voles are not known to invade the indoors, a trait often confused with common house mice.

Signs of a Mouse Infestation

Mouse droppings are the most obvious sign of a mouse infestation in your home. They appear like tiny black or brown rice grains. Additionally, you might notice an odor that is musky, stale, and similar to ammonia. All indications of mouse urine are in the area. Seeing shreds of paper or fabric and hearing scurrying or scratching noises are other clues to a mouse infestation.

Signs of a Vole Infestation

If you think you have an infestation of voles, here are some clues or signs to help you figure it out.

The most obvious sign is the many shallow tunnels that dig throughout a lawn. Vole tunnels are approximately 2 inches in width. Often these tunnels prevent young trees or shrubs from standing erect because their roots have been tunneled through. Noticing bulbs or other root vegetables that are partially consumed is another sign of an infestation of these pests.

Types of Voles

The Two Types of Voles

There are two species of voles: pine voles and meadow voles. Both species are rodents that tunnel, a pine vole is almost always below ground. Making an infestation hard to identify before the damage to your garden or lawn has become substantial.

Typically you will find vole infestations outside. Look for the following clues to disclose a vole problem:

  • Tunnels that are approximately two inches in width.
  • Many tunnels that are shallow form snake-like patterns through the grass.

Vole vs Mouse: Problems to Humans

The key difference between mice and voles is that one needs to be on the lookout for. One is that due to mice being able to spread and carry diseases to people they present a genuine health risk.

On the other hand, the only real harm voles cause is to our crops, gardens, and by eating plants. They do so with habitual burrowing can harm the plant roots, disrupting the garden plant's growth. Although voles do not present similar risks to our health as mice do, they are considered pests because of this plant damage.

Did You Know Voles Have Strong Teeth?

These tiny little creatures have some powerful incisors--almost two times that of a mouse! Their teeth are strong because of their love for vegetable and plant consumption, in some cases, this includes fencing wire!

Vole vs Mouse: Diet

The best way to describe the diet of mice and rats is they are calculating omnivores. Although they prefer grains, fruit, and seeds, occasionally they dig trash from trash cans, eat a bug or two, and even small animals.

On the other hand, voles are primarily herbivorous. Consuming mostly grass, bulbs, tubers, and herbaceous plants. Voles eat tree roots and bark during the fall and winter months. They typically hide plant matter and seeds in their underground tunnels for later consumption.

Problems Caused by Mice and Voles

Problems Caused by Mice and Voles

One of the issues mice cause for humans is the spread of harmful diseases like leptospirosis and salmonella. They also spread ticks and fleas, the transmitters of Lyme disease, in addition to being bothersome to pet owners.

The mouse typically known for carrying the Hantavirus disease in their droppings is the deer mouse and white-footed mice.

Mice can cause many problems as they encroach upon our homes in search of shelter, food, or water. They will even chew on the insulation and electrical wiring and use it for nesting material. You will likely find mice targeting scraps of food and trash more often than a vole does. Because mice and voles are both nocturnal, voles spend the majority of their life underground in the burrows they dig. However, voles are more likely than mice to be noticed during the daytime.

Get Rid Of Voles And Mice

When you want to get rid of mice and voles, fortunately, there are a few easy steps you can take. First, seal any cracks or holes with waterproof caulk to prevent the critters from getting inside.

Next, set some mouse traps wherever you have noticed activity, using peanut butter or cheese as bait.

Removing protective foliage and mowing grass regularly will make your yard less attractive to rodent pests.

When it's Time to Call the Professionals

If an infestation of voles or mice is making your life troublesome, it's time to call a pest control company.

After you have tried the DIY methods, call the professionals. A pest control company like A.N.T. Pest Control can get rid of your vole or mouse problem.

Contact us today and discover how our pest control services can help you. Call A.N.T. Pest Control at 815-215-7122 to schedule a free inspection and estimate today.

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