Pest Away Tips

10 Types of Animals that Dig Holes in Your Yard (and How to Deal with Them)

Identifying and Understanding Animals that Dig Holes in Yards

Do you notice holes in your yard or garden frequently? Maybe you are wondering what is causing the ground disturbance.

There could be a number of different culprits causing the damage, from cute little critters like moles and voles, to larger animals like raccoons and groundhogs. Understanding the different reasons why animals dig holes can help you to identify the creature causing damage and determine effective control measures.

Common Animals that Dig Holes


Skunks are known for their distinctive odor that you would want to avoid getting sprayed by. Apart from this, they also dig holes in yards.

Skunks dig holes to create dens, which they use to mate, hibernate, or protect themselves from predators.


Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are common burrowing animals in North America. They can tunnel into your yard or garden and create extensive damage with their digging.

They are herbivores and dig holes to feed on plants, which can lead to the destruction of your garden.


Moles are small, furry creatures that are known to have a keen sense of smell and hearing. They live in underground burrows where they eat insects and worms.

Their presence in your yard can cause problems because of their extensive tunneling, which may result in unsightly patches of dead grass.

Pocket Gophers

Pocket gophers are rodents that are well-known for their burrowing capabilities. They are tunnel-making machines, and their burrows can be quite extensive, covering an area of up to three acres.

They eat roots and shoots, which can cause severe damage to gardens and landscapes.


Voles look similar to mice but have specific differences, such as shorter tails, blunter noses, and stubbier legs. They damage yards by digging shallow tunnels and eating grass roots.

Voles can reproduce at an alarming rate, and without proper control measures, they can quickly overrun your yard.


Raccoons are found throughout suburban and urban areas. They are known to create small burrows in the ground and dig for food.

Raccoons are omnivores and will eat plants, insects, and small animals. They are known to cause damage to lawns by dig for grubs and insects.


The presence of wasps could be another cause of holes in your yard. They don’t usually dig dens into the ground, but they can dig holes that serve as access points to their underground nests.


Although they aren’t pests, earthworms are sometimes responsible for creating small holes in your garden. They create burrows to help aerate the soil and improve drainage.

Understanding the Reasons Why Animals Dig Holes


One of the main reasons why animals dig holes is to find food. Some animals, like voles and gophers, dig tunnels to reach plant roots, while others, such as skunks and raccoons, dig into the ground to find insects or other small creatures.


Another reason animals dig holes is to create a shelter for themselves.

Groundhogs and skunks, for example, create dens where they can rest and protect themselves from predators.


Some animals use holes as a place to nest, mate, and rear offspring.

Skunks, raccoons, and moles use underground burrows for these purposes.

Consequences of Animals Digging Holes

Soil Instability

The burrowing activity of animals can cause soil erosion and subsidence, which makes the soil unstable. This can create safety hazards, especially if tunnels collapse unexpectedly.

Grass and Garden Damage

The burrowing activity can damage lawns and gardens. Animals like groundhogs and voles can eat through the roots of your plants, while their burrowing can damage the roots of trees and bushes.

Additionally, mole burrows can create unsightly mole hills in your yard.

Dirt Mounds

Dirt mounds can be unsightly and cause safety concerns around your home. Burrowing animals like groundhogs and gophers leave behind mounds of soil that can obscure views and tripping hazards.


Keeping your yard and garden looking great can be challenging, but identifying the animal digging the hole can help you understand why it’s happening. Knowing the reasons animals dig holes will help you develop an effective control method to protect your property and your piece of mind.

If you are unsure what animal is causing the damage, it may be wise to contact a professional wildlife control specialist for additional advice.

Types of Animals that Dig Holes in Yards

As a homeowner, one of the most frustrating things is to look out onto your yard and see signs of holes and destruction caused by burrowing animals. Different animals dig holes for different reasons, and it’s essential to be aware of the potential damage they can cause to your yard or garden.

Here are some types of animals that dig holes in yards and how to deal with them. Small Hole Diggers


Earthworms might seem small and harmless, but their activity can cause small holes in your garden. They tunnel through the soil, leaving their excrement behind, which is usually in the form of small mounds of soil.

While earthworms are beneficial for plants and soil, they can become a problem when their activity leads to poor drainage or waterlogging. To prevent this, you can reduce soil amendments, promote aeration, and avoid excessive watering.

Cicada Killer


Cicada killer wasps are a type of solitary wasp that can dig holes up to three feet into the ground. They create small burrows where they lay their eggs.

Although they are not dangerous to humans, cicada killer wasps can be a nuisance in your yard. If their activity becomes too much of a problem, you can use insecticidal dust or Cypermethrin to control their populations.


Voles are small rodents that look like mice. They are herbivorous and primarily feed on plants, including the roots of grass.

Voles can create small holes in your yard and garden, leaving unsightly trails behind. To prevent their activity, you can use mesh or plastic tubing to protect plant roots, traps, or chemical repellents.

Pocket Gopher

Pocket gophers are rodents that can dig extensive tunnel systems, causing significant damage to lawns and gardens. They eat plant roots, including bulbs and tubers, which can ruin your garden beds.

To deal with pocket gophers, you can use exclusion fencing, remove weeds, install gopher wire, or use traps and bait.

Eastern Chipmunk

The Eastern chipmunk is a small, burrowing rodent that can dig shallow holes that can cause unevenness in your lawn. To prevent their activity, you can use habitat modifications like reducing shrub cover and brush piles, baiting with treated grain, and burrow fumigation.

Ground Squirrels

Ground squirrels are rodents that can create holes in your lawn, making it unsightly and inaccessible. To control their population, you can use habitat modifications like removing weeds, installing exclusion, using traps, baits, or fumigants.

Large Hole Diggers


Moles are small mammals that can dig tunnels and leave unsightly mounds of soil behind. They eat earthworms and insects, which can cause significant damage to your plants’ roots.

To remove moles, you can try removing their food source, like earthworms, using beneficial nematodes, or milky spore, digging trenches, and using traps and bait.

Norway Rat

The Norway rat is a large, burrowing rodent that can cause significant structural damage to homes and gardens. They create holes and tunnels around structures and create gnawed, damaged areas.

To prevent or remove them, you can use habitat modifications like reducing food sources, baiting, and trapping.


Skunks are common animals that create holes in your yard. They create burrows to mate, hibernate or protect themselves from predators.

Skunks are known for their pungent odor, which can be removed using a motion-activated floodlight or humane trapping program.


Raccoons can cause significant damage to your lawn and garden by digging for grubs and insects. They create dens in trees or burrow into the ground, removing soil, and creating holes around structures.

To get rid of raccoons, you can remove their food source, use professional treatment for grubs, or install motion-activated lights and sprinklers.


Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are large burrowing mammals that can create extensive damage to your lawn and garden. They dig for food and create dens, which can cause significant soil erosion.

To remove groundhogs, you can use a humane trapping program, habitat modification, baiting, or repellents.


While not a significant problem for most gardeners, snakes can sometimes create holes in your lawn or garden. They create dens under structures like sheds, decks or patios.

You can prevent snakes by removing their food source, like rodents, eliminating standing water, and shelter.

Final Thoughts

Different animals dig holes in yards or gardens for various reasons, and to get rid of them, you need to determine the type of animal that you are dealing with. Once you locate the most common source of the problem, you can use the appropriate control measures to manage the situation.

By being proactive and following some of the suggestions in this article, you can quickly and effectively control the animal’s activity and keep your garden and lawn flourishing. In conclusion, animal holes in yards can be frustrating and unsightly.

However, understanding the types of animals that dig holes and why they do it is crucial to finding effective control measures. From small hole diggers like voles and earthworms to large burrowers like moles and raccoons, each animal has its challenges.

Implementing the tips mentioned in this article, such as habitat modifications, using traps, and reducing or eliminating their food source, can help prevent and control the damage caused by animal holes. Taking action early and consistently can protect your lawn and garden, provide a safe environment for you and your family, and ensure wildlife’s humane treatment.

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