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Meadow Vole Tracks

1-27-15  vole tracks 130Meadow voles and mice (white-footed and deer) leave most of the tiny tracks one sees on the surface of the snow. In deep snow, meadow voles tend to remain beneath the surface in tunnels, but occasionally do travel on top of the snow. Typically, a white-footed or deer mouse leaves a leaping, four-print pattern, often with a tail drag mark running between the sets of prints. A leaping meadow vole may or may not leave a tail mark and usually has paired prints. However, voles leave a variety of tracks patterns, depending on the speed at which they are traveling and the depth of the snow, so they can be confusing.

Although one might think that three different animals made the tracks in this photograph, every tunnel, track and hole was made by a meadow vole. The trail in the lower left was made by a trotting vole, the tunnel on the right was exposed because the layer of crust just under the new snow prevented the vole from going any deeper, and at the top, the vole was quickly bounding into the safety of its deeper tunnel.

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3 responses

  1. janetpesaturo

    Cool photo, I love tracking the littlest beasts! Maybe it’s the angle of the camera, but the trail at lower left appears to be 3 sets of pairs, which could be a 2-2 lope (they definitely do that) or a side trot (not totally sure voles do that).

    January 27, 2015 at 8:27 am

  2. Bob and Inge

    Hi, Mary, and thanks. Did you ever get a donation from me? I thought I followed all the right steps. I did not get the picture of the tracks today. I wanted to forward to my kids in L. A.

    Thanks, Inge at bobingeack@crocker.com

    January 27, 2015 at 1:06 pm

  3. Yesterday I was walking the dog and one popped up right in front of us. While she snuffled at the hole, I watched the little critter zip a tunnel under the snow lightning fast!

    January 27, 2015 at 4:43 pm

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