Voles (Meadow Mice)
Voles are small, stocky, brown, mouselike rodents, with short tails, small ears and eyes, a large head, a somewhat blunt, rounded snout, and chisel-shaped teeth. There are 3 species in Missouri.
The prairie vole (M. ochrogaster) and woodland vole (M. pinetorum) are found statewide. The prairie vole’s tail is slightly less than twice the length of the hind foot. The woodland vole’s tail is nearly the same length as the hind foot. The meadow vole (M. pennsylvanicus) is found only in our northern counties. Its tail is longer, at least 2 times the length of the hind foot.
Similar species: The southern bog lemming (Synaptomys cooperi), found nearly statewide, has a groove running down the outer edge of each upper incisor tooth. Its tail is about as long as the hind foot. Some people confuse voles with moles and shrews. Moles, however, have greatly enlarged front feet with prominent digging claws. Shrews have long, pointed snouts and pointed front teeth.