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California Vole Microtus californicus


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California Vole
credit:  Jerry Kirkhart/CCSA

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

Description Medium-sized vole with tail of moderate length and belly fur that is pale with gray at the base. Grizzled brownish with scattered black hairs above. Long tail is bicolored. Feet are pale.

Dimensions 139-207mm, 38-68mm, 30-81g

Endangered Status The Amargosa Vole, a subspecies of the California Vole, is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in California. Non-native plants and animals introduced into its environment have contributed to the decline of this creature. Exotic plants have replaced the plants it needs to survive and it has suffered from having to compete with the House Mouse and other non-natives. Cattle-grazing, water diversion, and other practices have degraded its Mojave Desert habitat, and today it remains in only a very small area.

Similar Species Occurs at lower elevations than Montane Vole; has shorter and less bicolored tail than Long-tailed Vole; larger than Creeping Vole, and has six plantar tubercles; slightly larger than Townsend’s Vole.

Habitat Meadows & fields, Forests & woodlands

Range California, Northwest

Discussion The subspecies near Inyo County, California (M. c. scirpensis), is Endangered. Prefers low-elevation grasslands and wet meadows, but also found in coastal wetlands and open oak savannas with good ground cover.