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Solve a Wildlife Problem

Digging in the Lawn

Whether you prefer a carefully manicured lawn or take a laid-back approach to lawn care, it can be frustrating when wildlife holes dug in your yard. And when it comes to digging, there are quite a few potential wildlife culprits—thirteen-lined ground squirrels, woodchucks, chipmunks, skunks, raccoons, opossums, rabbits, and in southern Illinois, armadillosTree squirrels will also dig small holes in yards to bury acorns and nuts.

Foraging

Most of the shallow digging is caused by animals foraging for grubs or insects under the grass. Treating the lawn for grubs can prevent or lessen future damage. In some cases there are not many holes and the small patches can be reseeded, but sometimes wildlife do extensive damage to lawns. In these cases, you may need to have new sod laid down.

Photo: USDA Wildlife Services
This lawn was destroyed by raccoons foraging in the yard.
This lawn was destroyed by raccoons foraging in the yard.

Nests

During warmer months, rabbits will dig nests in lawns. The holes are shallow (less than four inches deep) and about the size of a woman’s hand. The young rabbits will leave the nest in about three weeks, at which point the nest can be filled in with soil and reseeded with grass.

Photo: Murray Crawford
A rabbit digs a hole in the ground, lines the hole with grass and fur, and covers the top with clipped grass. Often there is a small patch of soil at the front of the nest from the excavation.
A rabbit digs a hole in the ground, lines the hole with grass and fur and covers the top with clipped grass. Often there is a small patch of soil at the front of the nest from the excavation.

Burrows

Many different animals dig burrows to raise their young in and to protect themselves from predators or weather. These burrows often have soil piled up at the entrance where the animal has excavated the soil below.

Photo: Gordon Garcia
Thirteen lined ground squirrel next to its burrow.
Thirteen lined ground squirrel next to its burrow.