Common voles are small European rodents. The color of their fur on the back can vary from light brown to darkish gray-brown, sometimes with an admixture of brown-rusty tones. The abdomen is usually dirty gray in color, sometimes with a yellowish-buffy coating.
Common voles are found in large areas of Eurasia apart from the British Isles (with the exception of the Orkney Islands). They inhabit forests, pastures, meadows, heathlands, and agricultural fields, where shallow sloped areas are preferred.
Common voles are diurnal animals and remain active all year round. They are social and maintain aboveground runways, which expand like a railway system through the entire home range. Voles are seldom seen outside these runways, which enable faster and safer locomotion and easier orientation. They are not good climbers and live in underground nests dug 30 to 40 cm deep into the ground. These nests are used for food storage, offspring raising, and as a place for rest and sleep. Nests can be shared and defended by up to 5 females with juveniles that are related in most cases. Females are territorial while males do not maintain territories and during the mating season move between several females’ territories. Common voles communicate with each other visually and vocally using a high-pitched squeal. When feeling threatened they either freeze hoping to stay unnoticed or run away and hide in their underground burrow.
Common voles are herbivores feeding on green parts of grass, herbaceous plants, and various agricultural crops. Occasionally they may eat mollusks, insects, and their larvae. In winter, Common voles gnaw the bark of shrubs and trees, including berries and fruits, seeds, and underground parts of plants.
Common voles are polygynous and males move as so-called "floaters" between several females’ territories in order to mate as often as possible. The breeding season starts in March and ends in October; during this time females can raise more than one litter. After the gestation period of 16 to 24 days, females give birth to 3 to 8 pups, weighing between 1 and 3.1 g. They are usually weaned on the 20th day of birth. Some females start to breed when they are 13 days old while males typically mate at age of 56 days; the latest offspring in the year survives the winter and starts reproduction the following spring.
Common voles do not face any major threats at present.
According to IUCN, the Common vole is widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.