What Is the Difference Between Voles, Moles and Shrews?

While there are many misconceptions regarding whether voles, moles and shrews are the same species, moles are insectivores that live underground with specialized eyesight and feet with large claws for digging while shrews reside both above ground and underground to hunt insects, and voles are small rodents that are herbivores and spend all of their time above ground eating grasses, seeds and roots. Moles and shrews are not considered as rodents, and instead fall into the order Insectivora for their diet that consists mainly of insects and small invertebrates.

The large feet and claws of moles are physically adapted for burrowing and tunneling through the dirt. Shrews, on the other hand, are much smaller without the same physique and do not have the ability to tunnel through dirt as easily. Shrews typically have a body length of approximately 3 to 4 inches while moles are much larger and have a body length of approximately 5 to 7 inches.

Voles are rodents. They have large black eyes, a blunt face and distinct and prominent orange teeth that are used primarily for gnawing. They are quite small and have an approximate body length of 4 to 6 inches.

All of these animals have been known to wreak havoc on lawns, as they overturn dirt and grass.