How to Catch a Vole in the House

Judith Willson

Although they might look a bit like mice, albeit with blunter faces and shorter tails, voles have a different lifestyle and habitat. They create tunnels in grassy areas and rarely invade human homes. You might end up with a vole in the house if you have cats and occasionally during very cold weather.

Voles usually stay outside.

Catching and removing the vole is more straightforward than catching a mouse, mainly because the vole is unlikely to return to your house after release.


If voles are coming inside of their own accord, perhaps because of extreme weather, rodent-proof your home. Seal up all gaps in walls and around windows, doors and pipes with the appropriate building materials. Set traps until you’ve removed all the voles already inside. Voles may also come inside during periodic population explosions. Cut back vegetation around the house and encourage natural predators. A loose pile of scrap wood encourages snakes and turning off outside lights at night encourages owls.

  1. Put on tough work gloves. Wild rodents often bite and they can transmit diseases.

  2. Scoop the vole up quickly and put it in the bucket. A vole brought in by a cat is likely to be in shock and easy to catch. Alternatively, put the net quickly down over the vole, pick it up with the mesh and place it in a bucket. Put the lid on so the animal doesn’t jump out.

  3. Place a couple of large handfuls of grass in the box and allow the vole to recover for a couple of hours if you want to ensure its survival on release. If the lid fits tightly, make a few air holes with a sharp knife.

  4. Release the vole in your yard, preferably at least a dozen yards from the house. Keep your cats indoors for a couple of hours so it doesn't re-catch the vole and bring it back inside.

  5. Bait live traps for mice or rats with peanut butter or pieces of apple and place alongside walls or near where the vole is hiding, if it took refuge under furniture. Check the traps every couple of hours until you catch it. Darken the room. Drawing blinds and turning off lights makes nocturnal animals feel more confident.

  6. Wash your hands and disinfect the bucket, pet carrier or box. Put the gloves in the laundry.