The Bank Vole is probably one of the most loveable members of the largest group of living mammals, the rodents. Roughly one third of all mammal species are rodents and 155 species of these are voles.
Like mice but with shorter, stockier bodies and tails, fully furred ears, and blunter, more rounded muzzles, there are thought to be around 250,000,000 Bank Voles in England at any one time.
They don't just live in earthy banks. They are well adapted to survive in hedgerows too. They feed on roots and bulbs, flowers and blossoms, mosses, insects, seeds, fungi, worms and even the odd bird egg, given half the chance.
Bank Voles breed from April until October, producing up to five litters every year, with each litter containing up to five young. These ‘babies’ then breed themselves at just four and half weeks old, so vole populations increase rapidly and dramatically. Other animals match their own breeding seasons to make the most of this sudden glut of readily available, although extremely cute, food.
In 2013, while the Oxford University Museum of Natural History is closed to have the roof fixed, some of the exhibits have sneaked away to the town centre!
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