Definition of vole in English:



  • A small, typically burrowing, mouse-like rodent with a rounded muzzle, found in both Eurasia and North America.

    Subfamily Microtinae (or Arvicolinae), family Muridae: several genera, in particular Microtus, and numerous species

    • ‘The group is currently working on gaining protection for the lands and developing corridors that suit species from big cats to tiny voles.’
    • ‘It has now become a haven for wildlife such as deer, voles and hedgehogs, and boasts rare wild flowers’
    • ‘Other animals found nearby included two extinct species of vole - a small rodent resembling a mouse - that were used to date the site.’
    • ‘Small mammals, especially rodents such as voles, pocket gophers, and mice make up most of the Great Gray Owl's diet.’
    • ‘An organism - say, a vole - that faces predation has, say, two alternative strategies - to dig and hide or to flee its predators.’
    • ‘For example, eagles are able to spot a vole or lizard from more than 400 m away.’
    • ‘In Scandinavia, hawk owls usually breed only during bursts in the population of voles and lemmings.’
    • ‘The estimate for vole abundance is expressed as the number of voles per 100 trap nights and combines field and bank vole numbers.’
    • ‘In spring and winter, especially in the northern part of their range, they prey predominantly on voles.’
    • ‘They are nocturnal hunters and feed mainly on small mammals like mice, rats, voles and shrews.’
    • ‘During the breeding season, they eat mostly lemmings and voles.’
    • ‘Wildcats prey mainly on smaller animals, particularly voles, wood mice, and seabirds but they also kill rabbits and mountain hares.’
    • ‘In kangaroo rats and some vole species, investigators have found that male brains have a slightly larger hippocampus.’
    • ‘Different levels of the receptor are thought to explain the very different behaviours of meadow voles and prairie voles.’
    • ‘The rough field margins, which hold the mice and voles on which the owls feed, were ploughed up, while the amalgamation of fields through hedge removal reduced them even more.’
    • ‘A crucial twist is that not only do voles eat seedlings while mice eat seeds, but voles and mice have different food preferences.’
    • ‘Investigators are coming closer to answering this question by studying voles, small rodents commonly known as field mice.’
    • ‘For some still undetermined reason, the numbers of voles, lemmings, and hares soar in some years and plummet in others.’
    • ‘When voles are abundant, they become a major source of food, and in these years, some Barn Owls may be able to raise additional broods.’
    • ‘Kestrels eat voles, mice and shrews, small birds, insects and earthworms.’


Early 19th century (originally vole-mouse): from Norwegian voll(mus) ‘field (mouse)’.