Common Mammal Species of Northwestern Ontario





Clethrionomys gapperi
Southern Red-backed Vole


Distinguishing Features - Overall colouration, reddish above with grayish face, sides and rump; underparts and feet, whitish or buff. Ears, brown; snout, short; legs, short.

Southern Red-backed Vole Size -
12 - 16.5 cm (4.7 - 6.5 in)


Common throughout Northwestern Ontario in mixedwood environments close to bogs and marshlands.


The southern red-backed vole is an omnivore. It prefers the stalks of shrubs and growing vegetative parts of weeds and most grasses; conifer seeds, nuts and roots; also insects and snails; sometimes lichens.


The southern red-backed vole is a good indicator of an environmental disturbance. Where extensive land development or clear-cutting occurs, southern red-backed vole populations become practically extinct. In short, where trees disappear, so do voles. With progress and high predation rates, this vole manages to survive in significant numbers. A female will typically produce a litter of 2 to 8 offspring 3 to 4 times each year.

Other common voles of Northwestern Ontario-

Meadow Vole - Microtus pennsylvanicus
Western Heather Vole - Phenacomys intermedius

Less-common vole of Northwestern Ontario-

Rock Vole - Microtus chrotorrhinus

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