The Voles

What is a vole?

  • similar to mice but have:
    • a bigger build
    • shorter hairy tail
    • rounder head
    • smaller ears and eyes
    • different formed teeth

Meadow Vole

  • aka field mice
  • ~15 cm in length with a 4 cm tail
  • long loose fur that is reddish brown, darker on the back, lighter on sides and grey underneath
  • short life span of one month due to predation and starvation

Red-backed Vole

  • body measures up to 13 cm
  • bright chestnut brown back with grey feet and underside
  • have large ears and a short bi-coloured tail measuring 4cm
  • good climbers and are most active at night


  • not rats; member of the vole family
  • named for the "musky" odour they release to mark their territory
  • semi-aquatic mammals
  • weigh between 900g and 1800g
  • vary in shades of brown
  • Muskrats have flat tails and feet with fringes of stiff hair to help them swim

Back to PEI mammals.