Temporal range: Middle Pleistocene - Recent
They are somewhat similar in appearance to lemmings. They have chunky bodies with short legs and a very short tail which is covered in fur and lighter below. They have fluffy dull grey fur with lighter underparts. They are 12 cm long with a 2 cm tail and weigh about 27 g.
These animals are found in dry open brushy areas in the western United States and southern parts of western Canada. They feed on grasses and leaves in summer and sagebrush, bark and twigs in winter. Predators include owls, coyotes, bobcats and weasels.
Female voles have 5 or more litters of 4 to 6 young in a year. The young are born in a nest in a burrow.
They are active year-round, day and night, but are usually more active near sunrise and sunset. They make trails through the surface vegetation and also dig underground burrows with many entrances. They burrow under the snow in winter. These animals are often found in colonies.