Mice differ from voles in having tails that are longer than their bodies. The head of a vole, when viewed from the side, has a rounded appearance, whereas a mouse's head is extended forwards. Both mice and voles can feed on a wide range of plants.
Paired grooves may be seen on stems, crocus corms and stored apples, where the rodents' incisor teeth have gnawed at the food item. Holes may be seen in the soil where mice or voles have dug down to feed on bulbs, corms or germinating seeds. Remnants of seedlings may be scattered on the soil surface. Field mice sometimes bite off strawberry and other fruits before they are ripe and leave the berries in small heaps among the plants. Soft areas in a lawn with small heaps of soil on the surface are likely to be due to voles (as opposed to moles) tunnelling just beneath the surface.
Mice and voles can eat the recently sown seeds of peas, beans and sweet corn and kill seedling plants by grazing on the foliage. In cold weather field mice often enter greenhouses and cold frames, where they can destroy many seedlings overnight. They can also enter sheds and feed on stored fruits, such as apples.
Voles sometimes eat the bark of a wide range of woody plants, particularly in winter when vegetation is frozen and less palatable. If bark is lost from all or most of the circumference of a stem, then growth beyond that point dies. On evergreen plants, such as yew and ivy, the dieback may not be noticeable until later in the spring or summer.
Voles make a network of shallow tunnels in the soil and this can give lawns an uneven and soft surface.
Crocus corms and tulip bulbs are often eaten, especially in the first autumn-winter after planting. Established bulbs and corms are less susceptible.