There are six species of voles found in Minnesota. Southern red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi) is one of the smallest. It is common in moist deciduous, coniferous and mixed forests with stumps and logs for ground cover. It is usually the most common rodent in cedar, tamarack, and black spruce swamps. It is active both during the day and at night but more often at night. It is solitary, not forming colonies or pair bonds. It forages mostly on the ground but also in trees. This is the only vole in Minnesota that is a good climber of trees.
Southern red-backed vole is distinguished from mice by a stouter body; shorter, hairy tail; smaller ears and eyes; and molars with high crowns and angular cusps. It is easily distinguished from other voles by the gray sides and reddish back.