What Causes Holes In Lawn

When you’re confident it’s not a dog digging holes in your grass, it could be an important clue you have a pest that needs to be addressed.

Small holes often make a sudden appearance in new grass overnight and make your lawn appear unsightly and damaged.

Rodents such as moles, and some insects or birds feeding on them, among others, can create holes in your lawn. To fix holes in your yard, you need to know what makes holes, be it skunks and raccoons or another pest.

lawn holes

Much of understanding what is digging holes in my yard is down to the size of the holes.

In our guide, you can learn what can make large and small holes and the difference between a vole hole or holes caused by insects. (Learn How To Fill Chipmunk Holes)

By the end, you’ll have all you need to take pest control under your wing and stop little holes from appearing and preventing any further damage.

What Animal Makes Small Holes in the Ground?

You have a handful of suspects when you want to know what is digging holes in my yard. Some, such as moles, build tunnel systems, while others, like rats, dig burrows.

To stop animals from doing this, first, you need to know what other animals you’re dealing with before you can discourage animals from messing up your yard.



Moles are insectivores that dig tunnels in the ground looking for earthworms and centipedes in the fall and early spring.

Moles don’t eat plants, yet they can tunnel beneath them. A mole is 6- to 8-inches-long and gray or dark brown. They build deep tunnel systems where they live and reproduce.

You’ll spot mole activity from the conical dirt mounds they leave every so often.


Voles, often known as field mice, are 5 inch long rodents with shorter tails. They devour grass, perennials, shrubs, tree roots and also feast on seeds and bulbs. Voles quickly populate areas with surface tunnels that make up networks. Vole activity will leave you with golf-ball-sized holes around plant bases.


Gophers are tree chewing, shrub loving, and perennial root-eating animals that also love flower bulbs. Gophers can drag plants into their burrows. Their tunnels are like moles without webbed feet, yet they are located under and around the plants they eat.

Other Suspects

Many animals dig and tunnel, leaving small holes in the yard. It could be chipmunks, squirrels, skunks, raccoons, stray cats, or shrews. In the day, you can see chipmunks and their holes, and skunks make burrows under sheds and porches rather than digging a hole in the lawn. (Learn How To Stop Animals From Digging Holes In Yard)

Raccoons often leave big chunks up upturned earth in their hunt for grubs in the early summer.


Moles, gophers, and crayfish are the most typical causes of rounded mounds covering or surrounding their entrance. Further investigation of the underground burrows may lead to the identification of specific animals.

Gophers make circular mounds 2 to 3 inches in diameter and 8 to 12 inches deep, whereas moles make conical mounds 3 to 5 inches in diameter and 2 to 3 feet long below the surface. Crayfish activity is shown by a 2-inch hole surrounded by a muddy mound if your home is close to water.


Burrows are shallow holes and not surrounded by soil. According to the species of animal, they are found in various sizes. Burrows are dug by chipmunks, squirrels, rats, shrews, and voles.

Chipmunks dig a 2-inch wide hole under walls, building foundations, and locations with extensive ground cover.

Ground squirrels dig underground tunnels where they sleep, rest, and store food. Their holes are around 4 inches across, 6 feet deep, and 15 to 20 feet long.

Rats dig holes in the yard around 2 to 3 inches in diameter and are found in log piles, tree snags, rubbish piles rather than in the middle of your lawn overnight. (Find the Best Mulching Lawn Mower)


Shallow divots show animal activity in search of food in turf or mulch. The major culprits behind divots in your yard are squirrels, raccoons, skunks, and most birds that search for insects.

Insects, spiders, worms, and grubs are common in the round. In the search for these, the animals leave chunks of sod upturned on your lawn.

Some birds dig holes in the yard to hide food or to look for grubs and underground insects. Chickens quickly dig up flower gardens and lawns when snacking.

What Is Digging 2-inch Holes in My Yard?

Many species are capable of causing holes in lawns. It’s critical to understand your target pest, as it is in all aspects of pest control.

Insects and small rodents such as rats, moles, voles, squirrels, and gophers are the most common causes of little round holes in the yard. The holes will look different depending on what animal is digging them up.

Here are causes of holes in lawns and how to deal with them:

Earthworm Holes

Earthworms are segmented, tube-shaped worms with no legs found in any healthy yard’s soil. They are beneficial to the soil because they aerate the lawn by digging little holes and turning over the dirt to feed.

If your yard has a large population of earthworms, you may notice many small holes in your lawn with tiny heaps of soil granular pellets. These little holes will typically be visible near the top of the soil mound.

When the soil is moist and the temperature is warm, earthworm holes are common in the spring and fall seasons, when the soil is moist, and the temperature is warm enough for increased earthworm activity.

Earthworms are biologically useful to your lawn; therefore, you should not try to eradicate them. If their muddy castings are unsightly, let them dry before brushing them onto the grass. To limit earthworm activity in your lawn, you may also need to collect mowing clippings.



Voles can also dig holes in your yard, and the only way to figure out what’s causing it is to check for specific traits. Voles are the culprits if there are round rodent droppings near the holes, as well as chewed grass clippings. You can also observe some dead grass paths.

Field mice often use holes that voles excavated in your lawn. Examining the droppings is the best approach to spot them. A field mouse’s waste is somewhat elliptical or oval.


Overnight, gophers can create piles of soil and excavate holes on a lawn. They eat grass roots and blades, and grass blades can be seen inside their tunnels. Apart from the holes that gophers dig, the tunnels that this rodent digs beneath your grass can compromise the structural integrity of your lawn and cause uneven ground levels.

A lasting solution to stop these animals is spreading castor oil pellets in their holes. This is enough to deter them from digging holes on your yard. Another way to get them to leave the yard and stop a new generation from moving in is to stuff fabric softener sheets or peppermint oil into their burrows.


Moles hardly ever leave entrances to their burrows above ground. They eat grubs and other soil animals like earthworms, and they build tunnels about 10 inches below the surface of your lawn.

Mole holes are distinguished by raised soil covering in a volcano-shaped mound.

Use a natural Mole and Vole Repellent to keep moles from digging holes in your grass. Plant natural repellents like marigolds, shallots, daffodils, garlic, alliums, or fritillarias throughout the yard if the mole problem persists.

Placing chicken wire underground around your garden perimeter can be one way to stop moles from coming into your garden.


Squirrels in the yard can be identified by the sudden emergence of little holes all over the lawn. To save nuts for later use, these little mice dig up and bury them in the yard. (Learn What Do Squirrels Like To Eat)

Eastern gray squirrels are the primary culprits in your lawn’s holes. There is no mound of soil around the holes, which are usually shallow and small (2 inches wide).


Some insects live in the ground during winter and emerge in the spring. Adult insects lay eggs, and then in their larval stage, they emerge and leave small holes in your yard. An example is cicadas and Japanese beetles.

Some wasps, such as the cicada killer and scoliid wasps, dig small holes in yards, especially where the grass is short and the ground exposed. Scoliid wasps or other insects dig small holes in the lawn to lay their eggs. Unlike a scoliid wasp, cicada killer wasps dig holes and bury other paralyzed cicada killer wasps together with their eggs to nourish their young ones once they hatch.

Other insects that can also dig small holes in your lawn overnight are ants and termites. You’ll only need to treat and control these pests if the damage to your turf is extensive. Otherwise, a little insect activity in the yard is normal.

Ants in the lawn will create small holes with mounds easily spotted in the yards they hunt for food.

Grubs eat the roots of your grass, causing irregular brown patches of dead grass and creating holes in your lawn where they burrow up. Birds often take advantage of this and make a hole in their hunt for juicy grubs.

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