Western heather vole

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Western heather vole
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae
Subfamily: Arvicolinae
Genus: Phenacomys
Species: P. intermedius
Binomial name
Phenacomys intermedius
(Merriam, 1889)
Phenacomys intermedius map.svg

The western heather vole (Phenacomys intermedius) is a small vole found in western North America. Until recently, the eastern heather vole, (Phenacomys ungava), was considered to be a subspecies.

These animals are similar in appearance to the meadow vole. They have short ears and a short thin tail which is paler underneath. Their long soft fur is brownish with silver grey underparts. They are 14 cm long with a 3.5 cm tail and weigh about 40 g.

They are found in alpine meadows, open shrubby areas, dry forests with shrubs below to provide cover and tundra regions, usually near water, in British Columbia, the Yukon and the western United States. In summer, they live in underground burrows and, in winter, they tunnel under the snow. They store food for later use year-round.

They feed on plant leaves and berries in summer and plant bark and buds in winter, also seeds and fungi. Predators include owls, hawks and carnivorous mammals.

The female vole has 2 or 3 litters of 2 to 9 young in a nest made from grasses.

They are active year-round, and are crepuscular.

The population of this animal has been reduced in some parts of its range because of clearcutting of forests.


  1. ^ Linzey, A.V.; NatureServe; Reichel, J.D. & Hammerson, G. (2008). "Phenacomys intermedius". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 10 Jule 2009.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help) Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.