10 Animals That Dig Holes in Yards (With Pictures)

Animals such as groundhogs, rabbits, and raccoons naturally dig holes in yards for shelter or food. Their burrowing habits are instinctual and essential for their survival and well-being.

Animals that burrow do so as a strategy to protect themselves from predators, adverse weather conditions, and other threats. This act of digging not only provides them with immediate shelter and access to food but also plays a crucial role in the overall health and diversity of the ecosystem by aiding soil aeration and nutrient distribution.

1. Groundhogs

Groundhogs, commonly known as ‘woodchucks,’ are known to dig burrows in yards with abundant food like plants and flowers. These burrows serve multiple purposes: they offer shelter from predators, provide a cool place during the summer, and most importantly, a safe spot for hibernation during the cold winter months.

2. Rabbits

As seen in cartoons, rabbits are often known to dig holes in the ground. In the wild, rabbits will create warrens which are a series of tunnels and interconnected chambers that they use for shelter, hiding from predators, and raising their young. They also make pathways underground to get access to fenced gardens where they can feed.

3. Raccoons

Raccoons typically seek shelter in places like hollow trees, logs, or even unused burrows made by other animals like groundhogs. When searching for food, they don’t dig deep holes.

Instead, they scratch and scrape at the ground’s surface, looking for treats like worms and small insects. This behavior can result in yards looking a bit disheveled or messy.

4. Earthworms

Earthworms move under the soil, and as they do, they create little dirt mounds on the surface. They eat decaying plants and leaves, turning them into rich soil.

While doing this, they also make tiny channels in the ground, which helps air and water reach plant roots. Birds and raccoons often eat them, showing how they fit into the bigger picture of nature’s food chain.

5. Voles

Voles, small rodents, create shallow tunnels both under the ground and through grass above it. They use these burrows to find food easily and to protect themselves from cold during winter.

When the weather warms up in spring and summer, you might see them more as they come out to nibble on plants in gardens.

6. Skunks

Most skunks will dig a hole in sodded areas in search of earthworms and white grubs, so lawns are no exception. They can dig up to two feet deep and they do this to find food or shelter. Though not everyone enjoys having them around, these animals serve an important purpose by keeping away other pests such as rats.

7. Moles

Moles are tiny mammals that are experts at digging tunnels underground. Their network of tunnels serves as pathways and rooms, helping them move around and stay safe.

While underground, they search for their main foods: earthworms, snails, and other bugs. This tunneling also helps to aerate the soil, benefiting plants and the ecosystem.

8. Badgers

Like moles, badgers are also proficient diggers. They create long, horizontal burrows that have several entrances and exits. These omnivorous animals eat plants and insects found in a garden such as fruits, insect larvae, worms, and plant bulbs.

9. Gophers

Gophers are known for their impressive digging skills, creating deep burrows that can reach up to 6 feet down. Inside these tunnels, they store their food, including roots, seeds, and bulbs. If there’s a garden nearby, they might pop up in search of tasty plants to eat, making them frequent visitors to yards.

10. Squirrel

Squirrels often dig little holes in yards to stash away food like nuts. Later, they’ll return to these spots to retrieve their hidden snacks, especially during winter when food is harder to find.

This behavior helps them stay fed throughout colder months. Additionally, some types of squirrels dig not just for food but also to make cozy underground homes.


Burrowing animals instinctively dig holes for many reasons. While this may be a nuisance for homeowners, it’s important to remember that the animals are just trying to survive.

Some dig holes for food while others do it for shelter. If you happen to have one of these animals on your property, the best thing you can do is to try to coexist with them or find out the safest way to keep them away.