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Meadow Vole Microtus pennsylvanicus


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Meadow Vole
credit: Maximus Rex

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Family: Muridae, Mice and Rats view all from this family

Description A robust vole with a relatively short tail and compressed muzzle. Dull brown above with a gray belly. Immatures slightly darker than adults. Winter pelage is thicker and finer than the sparser, coarser summer coat.

Dimensions 140-195mm, 33-64mm, 33-65g

Endangered Status The Florida Salt Marsh Vole, a subspecies of the Meadow Vole, is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in Florida, where it is found in only one location, at Waccasassa Bay in Levy County. This single population, separated from the rest of the species after the last ice age, is very small, and extremely vulnerable to complete extinction. Climatic changes over time, and the resultant change in vegetation, are thought to have shrunk its range to its current extent. Nowadays storms, flooding, and human alteration to its habitat are the greatest threats facing it.

Breeding Distinguished from other voles by unique dental characters: five closed triangles on first lower molar, three transverse loops and no triangles on third lower molar, four closed triangles with a posterior loop on second upper molar, and three closed triangles on third upper molar.

Habitat Swamps, marshes & bogs, Lakes, ponds, rivers & streams, Meadows & fields, Forests & woodlands, Alpine & subalpine habitats

Range Plains, Great Lakes, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest, Eastern Canada, Western Canada, Alaska

Discussion The subspecies M. p. dukecampbelli known only from Cedar Key, Florida, is Endangered. This is the most prolific mammal on Earth, and occupies moist grassy fields and meadows over much of northern North America.