Yellow-necked mouse can be easily confused with the more common wood mouse, and the two were only identified as separate species in 1834.
Distinguish it from the wood mouse by its collar of yellowish fur, which forms a bib on the chest that can be quite difficult to see. The yellow-necked mouse may also be larger in general and lighter in colour.
It’s the smallest UK vole with a reddish-chestnut coat and an off-white underside.
Like all voles, it has a blunt snout, small eyes and ears. Its tail is short – just half the length of its body.
At first sight, they can be confused with field voles, which are greyer with a shorter tail, or wood mice, which have a longer tail and move much more quickly.
They can climb bushes to feed on fruit, nuts and small insects.
Field vole (Microtus agrestis)
Also known as short-tailed vole, field vole is a very common species in grassland, heathland and moorland in the UK.
It’s different from bank vole in having a much shorter tail, shaggier fur and furry ears. It’s usually greyish-or yellowish-brown with a pale grey underside.
This species is less likely to be seen than bank vole as it spends more of its time in runs and burrows and can be aggressive to other trespassing voles.
It eats grass, seeds, roots and leaves
Water vole (Arvicola amphibious)
Water vole has suffered a serious decline in the UK with numbers dropping by 90%.
Sometimes known as the water rat, it's the largest species of vole in the UK and is sometimes mistaken for the brown rat. It lives around water: rivers, streams, ditches and ponds. When it enters the water it makes a distinctive 'plop' sound.
Look for its glossy brown or black fur and blunt muzzle with small, black eyes. Its ears are rounded and almost hidden, and it has a dark, slightly furry tail.
Common shrew (Sorex araneus)
Common shrews have a short tail that is only half the length of its body. Its body is mainly dark brown with chestnut-coloured sides and grey or silver undersides.
It’s a very active and fast-moving species and needs to eat every 2-3 hours. It scurries though the undergrowth in woodland and grassland searching for insects, worms, slugs, spiders and larvae.
Shrews don’t hibernate, but they do become less active in winter, living in burrows that may have been made by other species.
Pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus)
One of Britain’s smallest mammals (alongside pipistrelle bats).
Pygmy shrew can be distinguished from common by its paler, grey-brown fur and a long, slightly hairy tail.
Like common shrews, they're quick and active and forage grass, roots, fruit, seeds and invertebrates.
Its a territorial species and is apparently quite aggressive. Its known to swipe its tail from side to side if it encounters another pygmy shrew.
Water shrew (Neomys fodiens)
This is an elusive species and is rarely seen, but it's the largest species of shrew in the UK.
Its fur is dense and silky and is dark grey or black with a whitish underside and tufts of white around the eyes and on the ears. It has large hind feet and is the only shrew likely to be seen in water.
Unlike other species in Britain, water shrews have venomous saliva that is capable of paralysing prey such small fish and frogs.