Voles in the vegetable patch

Our gardeners have found some visitors who go to show that the gardens are a thriving habitat.

Our gardeners can find something unusual in a morning. Last autumn we found some competition in the vegetable patch for our pumpkins and they didn't want to leave.

These were the voles that you can see in this video, happily munching on the pumpkin our gardeners were trying to grow.

We can tell this is a family of voles quite easily. A vole is technically classed as a small rodent; a relative of the mouse, with a stouter body, a shorter, hairy tail, a slightly rounder head and smaller ears and eyes. You can see all of these features here.

You never know where you might find these little visitors
A vole on the side of a path

It’s good to see that the gardens are such a good habitat for them. It goes to show that the gardens are full of life, as voles typically thrive on small plants and they can live on almost any nut or fruit.

The gardeners may be less impressed however, as these innocent looking visitors eat away bulbs in the ground. They create excellent burrowing and tunnelling systems and these give them access to sensitive areas without warning.

They do have big benefits for the gardens too however. Like other burrowing rodents, they also play beneficial roles, including dispersing nutrients throughout the upper soil layers. So seeing them thriving here is a sign of good, sustained growth in the gardens.