Orkney Vole

Microtus arvalis orcadensis

A vole has small ears, a tail shorter than its body length and a rounded head.

An Orkney vole is twice the size of the field vole, which is found across the rest.

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Discover more about the Orkney Vole

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When to see

In summer, the daylight hours in Orkney are much longer and the vole is the islands’ only rodent to be active during the day. As a result, it is an important food source for hen harriers and short-eared owls. It is active throughout the year, but is not so apparent in winter when it spends more time in its underground tunnel networks.

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Where to see

The Orkney vole is only found in Orkney Mainland, and the islands of Westray, Sanday, Rousay, Burray, South Ronaldsay and Eday. The Orkney vole’s closest relative is the common vole which is found throughout Europe but not in the British Isles.

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Did you know?

It is suggested that Orkney voles evolved from common voles which were brought over to the islands by Neolithic settlers from Scandinavia, up to 5000 years ago. There is one other uniquely endemic rodent in Scotland, the Canna mouse, a larger relation of the wood mouse found in Scotland.

Binoculars Icon Blue
When to see

In summer, the daylight hours in Orkney are much longer and the vole is the islands’ only rodent to be active during the day. As a result, it is an important food source for hen harriers and short-eared owls. It is active throughout the year, but is not so apparent in winter when it spends more time in its underground tunnel networks.

Map Icon Blue
Where to see

The Orkney vole is only found in Orkney Mainland, and the islands of Westray, Sanday, Rousay, Burray, South Ronaldsay and Eday. The Orkney vole’s closest relative is the common vole which is found throughout Europe but not in the British Isles.

Book Icon Blue
Did you know?

It is suggested that Orkney voles evolved from common voles which were brought over to the islands by Neolithic settlers from Scandinavia, up to 5000 years ago. There is one other uniquely endemic rodent in Scotland, the Canna mouse, a larger relation of the wood mouse found in Scotland.

Binoculars Icon Blue
When to see

In summer, the daylight hours in Orkney are much longer and the vole is the islands’ only rodent to be active during the day. As a result, it is an important food source for hen harriers and short-eared owls. It is active throughout the year, but is not so apparent in winter when it spends more time in its underground tunnel networks.

Map Icon Blue
Where to see

The Orkney vole is only found in Orkney Mainland, and the islands of Westray, Sanday, Rousay, Burray, South Ronaldsay and Eday. The Orkney vole’s closest relative is the common vole which is found throughout Europe but not in the British Isles.

Book Icon Blue
Did you know?

It is suggested that Orkney voles evolved from common voles which were brought over to the islands by Neolithic settlers from Scandinavia, up to 5000 years ago. There is one other uniquely endemic rodent in Scotland, the Canna mouse, a larger relation of the wood mouse found in Scotland.