Allotment Heaven wildlife - Field Vole

Removing the last of some plant vegetation unsuitable for composting, disturbed a family of what I at first thought were mice. When they stopped hurtling around and I got a chance to see them properly, realised they were field voles.

Here's a snap of the one I managed to tempt back with the discarded beetroot they'd been feeding on. You can also see a short video by clicking here.

Made a fresh home of bricks and dried grass in the hope of tempting them all back. Beginning to think this wasn't such a good idea, having read they have up to ten litters a year, each with up to ten in a litter. Since each baby vole reaches sexual maturity within a month, that means in a single season a pair of voles and their offspring can produce a population of over one billion. Allowing for less than maximum production and some losses along the way, a million still sounds a bit off-putting. I know he's cute, but come on!

Vole populations can vary on a four year cycle, with numbers increasing tenfold between highs and lows. Although common, their presence is vital for providing food to other wildlife. The number of young raised by kestrels and owls increases when vole populations are high.

Living for less than one year, voles don't hibernate but moult and produce a thicker coat for winter. They are a long term native of Great Britain, with remains dated back to before the last period of glaciation 11,000 years ago.

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