GALLERIES > MAMMALS > MEXICAN VOLE [Microtus mexicanus]
Location: Paton's House, Patagonia, AZGPS: 31.5N, -110.8W, elev=4,038' MAP
Date: July 20, 2008
ID : 7C2V5686 [3888 x 2592]
The Mexican Vole (Microtus mexicanus) is currently listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Hualapai Mexican Vole is listed as endangered by the State of Arizona because of its limited location and destruction of its habitat. Voles are rodents, closely related to the common field mouse and very similar in size, habitat, and appearance.
The Mexican Vole is located in the southwestern United States and in Mexico. They usually live in grassy, mountainous areas, making their homes in concealed areas on the ground. They are especially fond of areas with an overhang, liking to make their homes underneath downed trees or rocks, especially trees that have been down for a while and have started to decompose. They travel in well-established paths on their hunt for food and are relatively active during the day when in areas where there is a high amount of concealing ground cover.
Small and furry, the Mexican Vole is typically brown with a short tail, only slightly longer than their back feet. They are about the size of a small mouse with round ears that are small and almost covered with fur. Their underbellies and tails verge to more gray in color, and their fur is fuzzy and relatively long. Voles usually average approximately 141 mm in length and only weigh about 29-48 grams.
Mexican Voles are entirely herbivorous. In the summer time, they feed on herbs and green grasses and eat bark, bulbs, and roots in the winter. Unlike some other small mammals, they donít stock up on food for the winter and donít hibernate. Instead, they forage for food all year round, following the same routes and pathways.
Sexual maturity in the Mexican Vole usually occurs at about six weeks of age, and they seem to breed all year, only waiting 30-40 days between each litter. The female can bear litters of up to six young voles, but the average number per litter is about three. The babies are born blind and defenseless with no fur, born in small nests made of grasses and herbs and tended until the babies are weaned.
The Mexican Vole is actively hunted by such predators as skunk, fox, bobcat, and coyote, and they are also endangered because of drought, elimination of the high grasses that they live in by grazing and development, and, of course, humans.