What Is Causing The Tunnel-Like Holes In My Yard?

Last Updated on April 5, 2024 by Real Men Sow

It’s stressful being a homeowner that finds holes and tunnels in their yard. You’ve got to think of how to fix the hole and whoever did it to prevent finding holes in your yard again.

When a homeowner finds holes and tunnels in their yard, burrowing animals are the most likely suspects. There are many small animals that can dig holes in the ground, including chipmunks, moles, voles and chipmunks. While some animals, like moles, build complex tunnel systems, others, such rats, dig burrows to hide.

Burrowing Animals that May Cause the Holes in my Yard

The first step to controlling the situation is to identify the culprit. Here is a list of animals that may have been responsible of the holes.


Insectivores, moles tunnel through the ground looking for earthworms or insects. They are most active in fall and spring. Although they don’t eat plants themselves, moles can damage them by tunneling beneath them. Moles dig deep tunnels to reproduce and live. Feeding tunnels are located just below the soil surface. A series of conical dirt mounds is the sign of moles. To check if the mole has reopened them, you can gently tamp down the tunnel ridges and dirt hills. This will show you where the active moles are. In most cases, there are only one to two active moles in an area.


The smallest rodent, called field mice or volts, is about 5 inches in length and has shorter tails than mice. They consume the roots of grasses and perennials as well as shrubs and trees. Voles will also eat bulbs and seeds, and will even girdle trees’ bark. They can multiply quickly and create networks of tunnels in the surface area. Clean-edged holes of golf-ball size around the plants’ base are clues to vole activity. You will find small, neat, round holes through their tunnels if they are not plugged.


Gophers are herbivores. They eat the roots of trees, shrubs, and perennials. Gophers also eat flower bulbs. They are known to pull plants under the ground and into burrows. They don’t have webbed feet like moles for “swimming through” the soil. However, they can dig tunnels similar to moles. It is important to identify the location of damage. Gopher tunnels and mounds are built around the plants they eat, not scattered over a large area like mole tunnels. Gophers make crescent-shaped dirt mounds by reaching the soil from an angle. Instead of leaving the center open, they fill it with new soil after every foray to feed.


Rats will eat anything they find in your yard. This includes fallen fruits, nuts, and birdseed. Norway rats are the most common of the rats that dig burrows into the ground to hide from predators. The burrows are lined with shredded paper and other fibrous materials. Rats may also be responsible for gnawed materials outside. A rat burrow may have an escape tunnel, which can be found in another area of your yard. Burrows can be found in, under, or underneath compost piles and garbage cans.

Other Possible Suspects that Burrows Holes in my Yard

Many animals dig tunnels and make holes. The tunnels may be made by squirrels, chipmunks and raccoons. Ground holes are also home to snakes. Another way to find out which animal is causing holes in your yard is to use an online wildlife key. This will allow you to see descriptions of the damage. For example, chipmunk holes are about the size of a dime and you will see them around during the day. Skunks dig their holes underneath sheds, porches, and other dark areas.

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.