Voles (Microtus spp.) are small mammals that occur throughout Kansas. Sometimes referred to as "meadow mice," voles are compact rodents with short tails (about an inch long), stocky bodies, big heads, and short legs. Their eyes are small and ears partially hidden. They are usually brown or gray, but coloration varies widely.
Voles play an important role in the food chain. They provide a major part of the diet for many predators, including coyotes, hawks, owls, foxes, and snakes. The mortality rate for voles is high. Life expectancy in the wild often does not exceed two months, and few live longer than 16 months.