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Vole (Vól Bruaigh ) --:  
Voles are small, tubby animals about 10cm (4 inches) long. Voles have a short, round head, small eyes and ears, and a fat roundy body covered by thick fur. The only vole found in Ireland is the Bank vole. The coat is usually a chestnut brown and the underside is a creamy colour. Ears and tail are covered in fur. Voles live in all the cooler countries of the world.  The vole eats leaves, grasses, insects and fruit.

It was only discovered here in 1964 and is thought to live only in the South - West. It has also been recorded in Clare, Cork and parts of Tipperary. Sometimes it shares tunnels made by moles. Bank voles dig out storerooms and bedrooms from the burrows and line them with chewed grass. They can run, climb, swim and jump. The meadow voles now live on the grassy slopes at sides of motorways. They sit up and eat with their hands like squirrels.  Water voles are often called water rats. They are nearly twice the size of meadow voles. They live in riverbanks where they dig deep burrows.  The voles belong to the rodent family, like rats and mice and are closely related to the lemming. 

The voles breeding season is from April to September. During this time four or five litters may be reared.  The average litter is four. Many of the young do not live to be big because other larger animals like the stoat or fox eat them. The   bank    vole   lives   in   shallow   under   ground   burrows   is   mainly   nocturnal    but   may   be   sometimes   seen    foraging   for    food    during   the   day. Its   nest   is   made of   dried   leaves   and    grasses   and   is   often   lined   with feathers   moss   or   wool. Like mice and other small mammals birds of prey and larger animals often eat the vole. Being   a good   climber   it   can   be seen   seeking   food    several   feet   above    ground    in    hedges    and    small   trees. 

I    have   never   seen   a   vole, but I would like to someday.

Robert   Dunphy