Taiga vole

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Taiga vole
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae
Genus: Microtus
Species: M. xanthognathus
Binomial name
Microtus xanthognathus
(Leach, 1815)

The taiga vole (Microtus xanthognathus) is a large vole found in northwestern North America, including Alaska and northwestern Canada. It is also sometimes called the yellow-cheeked vole or chestnut-cheeked vole.

This animal is similar in appearance to the smaller rock vole. It has short ears and a long tail. Its fur is brown with grey underparts and a rusty yellow patch on the nose. It averages 18 cm (7.1 in) in length with a 5 cm (2.0 in) tail and weighs about 120 g (4.2 oz).

This species is found in northern forests near water or bogs. It makes runways through the surface growth and underground burrows. It is usually found in colonies. It feeds on grasses, lichens, horsetails and berries. It stores food underground in its burrows for the winter. Like the singing vole, this animal may give a warning call to alert other members of the colony of danger.

The female vole has litters of 7 to 10 young. The vole population in a given area can vary greatly from year to year.

They are active year-round, usually during dark periods.

Although not commonly encountered, they can be locally abundant.


  1. ^ Linzey, A.V. & NatureServe (Hammerson, G.) (2008). Microtus xanthognathus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 27 Jun 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.