Creeping Voles Exposed

While scouting for teaching locations for the Wildlife Tracking Intensive at the end of April, Alexia Allen and I spotted a small rodent moving through the leaf litter in a riparian forest close to the Hoh River on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula. I quickly reached down and captured the little grey creature who was kind enough to pose for a few photographs!

mg_4522.jpg?w=200 Creeping voles are a relatively small species of Microtus, typically found in forests here in the Northwest.
mg_4637.jpg?w=300 Field marks which identify this as a creeping vole include its small size, short tail, and small ears which blend into it fur as well as its forest habitat.
mg_4588.jpg?w=300 Creeping vole (Microtus oregoni)
mg_4519.jpg?w=300 Alexia Allen carefully handles the vole by its ruff.



  1. Valentina Visscher

    I don’t have a comment as much as a question. I live in Lake Forest Park, WA; could these little creatures live in my yard? I was watering this evening and something small, blackish and slow moving ambled from one grassy, weedy area to another to escape the hose spray. Then it ambled back.

    I’d rather like to think this is what I saw rather than a rat. EEK.

  2. David Moskowitz

    Certainly could. Voles, several species are commonly found in and around suburban areas, especially places with irregularly mowed grass!

  3. Breona Chattick

    I actually have a question. Are they herbivores?

    Because all the information I’ve looked up says they are no matter where I looked, but I had one currently in my care (Rescued from one of my cats.) and he/she ate a few mealworms I gave him/her before I released him/her.

  4. David Moskowitz

    They are herbivores…though a number of rodents, including voles apparently, will eat the odd insect/invertebrate when given the chance though they are basically herbivores. Hope it made it. Cats make a mess of native songbirds and small mammals…you might consider a bell or something similar for your cat!

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