Bank vole

Bank vole

Bank vole ©Wildstock

Bank vole

Scientific name: Myodes glareolus
The chestnut-brown bank vole is our smallest vole and can be found in hedgerows, woodlands, parks and gardens. It is ideal prey for owls, weasels and kestrels.

Species information


Length: 8-12cm
Tail: 4-6cm
Weight: 15-40g
Average lifespan: 0.5-1.5 years

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The bank vole lives in woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens. It eats fruit, nuts and small insects, but is particularly keen on hazelnuts and blackberries. Bank voles are very active and agile animals, and are frequently seen - they even visit bird tables. They live in shallow burrows, but may make grassy, round nests above ground if the soil is unsuitable for digging. They have three or four litters a year, each with three to five young. Bank voles do not hibernate.

How to identify

The bank vole is rich, chestnut-brown above, and white below. It is richer in colour than the similar field vole and has a proportionally longer tail. Voles have blunter, rounder faces, smaller ears and eyes, and shorter tails than mice.


Widespread, absent from most of the Channel Islands, the Isles of Scilly, most Scottish islands, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Did you know?

The bank voles that live on Skomer Island, Wales, have evolved into a unique subspecies known as the Skomer vole (Myodes glareolus skomerensis). They are larger and bolder than their mainland cousins.