Any burrowing rodent (family Cricetidae) with a blunt snout, small ears, and short limbs. Most species are herbivorous and are found throughout North America and Eurasia. The approximately 45 species of the genus Microtus, also called meadow mice, are 4–10 in. (10–26 cm) long, including the tail. Their long, shaggy fur is grayish brown. About 10 species of pine voles inhabit swamps, fields, and hardwood forests. Red-backed voles inhabit forests in cold regions. Water voles are found only in Eurasia and usually live near a stream, ditch, or lake.
Meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus).—Judith Myers
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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