Solved! What Animal is Digging Holes in My Yard?

Trying to figure out what animal is digging holes in the yard? Check out this guide to determine which critters might be to blame.

By Nicole Fallon | Published Apr 6, 2022 5:19 PM

What Animal is Digging Holes in My Yard

Photo: istockphoto.com

Q: I keep finding mysterious holes all over my lawn. How do I determine what type of animal is digging holes in my yard?

A: Many different animals can be digging in a homeowner’s garden or leaving holes in the grass. When determining what makes small holes in the ground, there are a few factors to consider, such as the size of holes in the grass and the presence of any mounds of dirt. Additionally, there might be a distinctive smell or type of mess specific to a particular kind of animal. If you’re asking yourself, “What is making holes in my yard?” here are some possible answers. And if you’re unsure of how to treat what animal is digging holes in the yard, it’s always best to reach out to one of the best pest control companies or best wildlife removal services.

Mystery holes in the yard?
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Skunks dig in lawns to find insect larvae, and you may notice their distinctive smell.

What Animal is Digging Holes in My Yard

Photo: istockphoto.com

Skunks dig two types of holes: larger burrows for sleeping (typically around 8 inches wide and relatively deep) and little holes for finding food.

Skunks typically dig burrow entrances in the wild under objects like logs or large rocks. But a homeowner can also find skunk burrows under a home’s foundation, patio, or other outdoor structure. Feeding holes are small and shallow, typically only a few inches in diameter. Skunks create them to find insect larvae, their primary food source. These holes usually pop up in groups, not individually.

In addition to holes in the lawn, homeowners may be able identify if a skunk is present by its distinctive and pungent odor. However, the glands skunks use to spray their smelly liquid take about 10 to 14 days to refill, so a homeowner may notice the holes before noticing a skunk’s smell.

Groundhogs, voles, and gophers burrow for shelter.

When wondering what animal digs holes in the yard, groundhogs, voles, and gophers might also be the culprits.

Since groundhogs live underground, they dig medium-sized holes or burrows that lead to an underground network. Typically, there’s only one entrance to these burrows, and they’re usually around 12 inches wide and near trees, walls, or fences.

Voles create even smaller, dime-sized holes. If a homeowner sees small holes in the yard with no mounds, voles may have created them. Voles also make “runways” in the grass. These runways look like dirt-covered trails across a yard. Homeowners can expect to find vole runways and holes in the spring after snow and ice have melted.

Gophers leave behind more of a mess than groundhogs and voles, tearing up grass and uprooting plants. They might also chew up electric wiring or destroy sprinkler systems. To determine whether the culprit in a homeowner’s backyard is a gopher, look for mounds of dirt next to small burrows, usually about 2 to 3 inches wide.

Mystery holes in the yard?
An expert can unearth the culprit. Get free, no-commitment project estimates from pest control and wildlife removal services near you.
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Moles create volcano-shaped mounds of dirt when digging, and they can wreak havoc on a yard.

Moles are ground-dwelling creatures that typically favor rich soil. If a homeowner notices volcano-shaped mounds of dirt near holes in their lawn, the culprit might be a mole. Moles create raised tunnels in the lawn and leave behind lumps of dirt or hills—especially in a garden. Moles also tend to destroy the roots of plants and can damage a building’s foundation. Another sign of moles is an increase in weeds. A significant invasion of moles might indicate the presence of other soil pests.

Moles can wreak havoc on a yard in many ways, so identifying them early is crucial. A wildlife removal specialist will be essential to ensure that moles don’t take over the property before it’s too late.

What Animal is Digging Holes in My Yard

Photo: istockphoto.com

Raccoons can make a mess of a yard and may pull out pieces of grass or sod.

Raccoons are known to make a mess. In fact, it’s common to find raccoons digging through garbage cans or getting into food that might be left outside. However, they can also make a mess in the yard, pulling out pieces of grass or sod and digging up the lawn or garden. Because they feed on grubs, raccoons tend to use their paws to pull and flip pieces of sod or rip and tear up grass with shallow roots.

Additionally, skunks and raccoons often feed in the same area overnight. If you notice a strong skunk smell, there might be a raccoon present as well.

Mystery holes in the yard?
An expert can unearth the culprit. Get free, no-commitment project estimates from pest control and wildlife removal services near you.
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Digger bees, earthworms, and wasps can also create holes in a yard.

Often, homeowners will assume only pests like groundhogs or moles can create holes in a yard, but insects and worms can be the cause, too.

Digger bees live underground, so they create tunnels in the soil, typically where the grass is sparse, to get to their nests. Homeowners can find digger bees in the early spring. On the other hand, wasps create nests in various places, from under the ground to inside tree hollows. Wasps are typically more dangerous than digger bees, as they’re aggressive, and their nests can hold up to 6,000 wasps.

Earthworms can also disturb the soil, especially if they’re plentiful. They, too, leave behind mounds or clumps of soil in a homeowner’s lawn or garden. Lots of small holes in the lawn are indicative of earthworms rather than a larger mammal.

Once a homeowner knows what kind of animal is digging holes in their yard, they can call an expert wildlife removal technician or pest control professional to properly keep the critters away.

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