West Allis alderman sets out on 'vole patrol' to clean up dead rodents found underneath the freeway

NOW: West Allis alderman sets out on ’vole patrol’ to clean up dead rodents found underneath the freeway

WEST ALLIS (CBS 58) -- About two dozen rodents were found on the sidewalk underneath I-41 off Schlinger Avenue within the last two weeks. 

"They are not rats, they are voles," said Alderman Michael May. 

Voles are small rodents that look like mice but are closely related to hamsters. Four species of voles are native to Wisconsin. 

“You usually don’t see them too often, because they stay low to the ground in the grass," said Nathan Holoubek, DNR Wildlife Biologist. 

May learned about the voles showing up on the sidewalk in late July, and within the last week, he's received more calls about the problem. 

“I came out with the Health Department after more reports of dead animals under the freeway, and we came out and tried to figure out where they came from," said May. "I volunteered to come out and pick up all the voles, and it kind of sprung on us, vole patrol."

On average, he's collected one vole a day, but after a good rain, he's picked up five. The Department of Public Works is assisting with cleanup, so far it's picked up close to a dozen voles. 

May believes the voles are either falling off from the grassy area above or being pushed out by the rain.

“The voles are landing where they have access to the meadows above, so between all the freeway bridges," said May. 

He's working with the Department of Transportation to find a solution, but in the meantime, the "vole patrol" will continue. 

“I feel bad for them,  I really do," said May. 

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