Finland, Vole? ID please.

Hi can anyone help with this little critter? I think it’s some kind of vole. I also thought I saw a couple of larger grey rodents, I think they might have been wood lemmings but does anyone know if they are found in the vicinity of Kuikka Base Camp near Kuhmo?









  1. vnsankar 7 years ago

    Looks like Northern Red-backed Vole (Myodes rutilus) to me…

  2. Lipchitz (Christian) 7 years ago

    It’s difficult to estimate the length of the tail, but the pattern of colours seem those of Clethrionomys rufocanus (notice colours).
    I don’t know exactly its range, but I catched in a trap in july of 2002 in NE of Finland,not fare from russian border.
    Which is important is the biotope; i.e. in forest.

    To you, friendly,
    Christian Lipchitz

  3. vdinets 7 years ago

    There are three species of Clethrionomys in Finland. C. glareolus has rusty-brown back, dark underparts and bicolored tail; C. rutilus has reddish back, dark underparts and slightly tufted, almost uniformly dark tail; C. rufocanus has rusty-brown back sharply separated from gray underparts, bicolored tail, and reddish triangle on the forehead. But there is a lot of individual variation.
    Are you sure you have the same animal on all three photos? The first one looks different from the other two. I’d say the first one is C. rutilus and the others are C. glareolus.

  4. Uffe Gjøl Sørensen 7 years ago

    The likely species around Kuikka is C. glareolus and to my eyes, all three photos fit this species. – C.rufocanus is a slightly larger, strongly built species, which has much more distinctly bi-colored fur with slaty sides in contrast to more rufous back. You will find this species further north in Finland. The third species, C.rutilus, is close to C.glareolus in size and proportions but it will show more rich rufous back. C. rutilus is also mainly a species found to the north although also known from mid-central Finland.- Wood Lemming (L. lemmus) should be possible around Kuikka

    • Author
      kittykat23uk 7 years ago

      Thanks so much! with the other rodents, there were two that I didn’t manage to photograph. the impression I got of them was uniform slate grey. about the size of a syrian hamster? I didnt notice a tail. could those be wood lemmings?

      • Uffe Gjøl Sørensen 7 years ago

        I do not know Wood Lemming in the field and cannot advise further. The species is reported to be mainly night-active and difficult – both to see and to trap.

      • vdinets 7 years ago

        Wood lemming is small (h&b 9-13 cm, tail 1-2 cm), dark grey with a reddish-brown spot on the rump (sometimes extending all the way to the nape) and bicolored tail. It can be difficult to tell from Clethrionomys/Myodes voles; the only good signs are the tail length and the modified 1st foreclaw (it’s shovel-shaped).

  5. Lipchitz (Christian) 7 years ago

    I thank you all for this interesting discussion, and … sweeping of my wrong ideas !
    Indeed, the rufous triangle on the forehead is a very good criterion; and like this, C. rufocanus is out !

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