Can I get you a vole or two?

On Facebook, Joelle Stepien Baillard posted an old cartoon (pubished 8/8/94) by New Yorker cartoonist Sam Gross:


A cartoon with a translation from one world to another. There’s the world of cats, in which they go outside to hunt small animals; and then, simultaneously, the world of (human) household relationships, in which someone going out on an errand will often ask if they can get something for the others while they’re out.

That gives us a talking cat.

On voles. From Wikipedia:

(#2) The bank vole (Myodes glareolus) lives in woodland areas in Europe and Asia (photo from Wikipedia)

Voles are small rodents that are relatives of lemmings and hamsters, but with a stouter body; a shorter, hairy tail; a slightly rounder head; smaller ears and eyes; and differently formed molars (high-crowned with angular cusps instead of low-crowned with rounded cusps). They are sometimes known as meadow mice or field mice in North America and Australia.

… Voles thrive on small plants yet, like shrews, they will eat dead animals and, like mice or rats, they can live on almost any nut or fruit. In addition, voles target plants more than most other small animals, making their presence evident. Voles readily girdle small trees and ground cover much like a porcupine. This girdling can easily kill young plants and is not healthy for trees or other shrubs.

Voles often eat succulent root systems and burrow under plants or ground cover and eat away until the plant is dead. Bulbs in the ground are another favorite target for voles; their excellent burrowing and tunnelling skills give them access to sensitive areas without clear or early warning. The presence of large numbers of voles is often only identifiable after they have destroyed a number of plants. However, like other burrowing rodents, they also play beneficial roles, including dispersing nutrients throughout the upper soil layers.

In our Columbus OH garden, voles were a threat to the crocuses planted in one specific bed.

2 Responses to “Can I get you a vole or two?”

  1. annburlingham Says:


  2. Prey of the day | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] so far — he’s 87 — is another with a (talking) cat in two parallel worlds. From my 10/30/20 posting “Can I get you a vole or […]

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