What Is Digging Holes In The Lawn At Night?

Last Updated on April 10, 2024 by Real Men Sow

There is nothing worse than finding little holes in your lawn when you get up from bed. Various possible candidates to find out who is causing you problems in your mornings and making your lawn look ugly. 

The size and shape of the holes to get a better idea of what is causing small holes in your lawn. Some of these are obvious, but there are also a few other things that can damage your lawn. You should also consider the season. Different seasons can mean different animals are active. Some may be laying eggs, while others might be looking for food.

What is Digging Small Holes in My Lawn at Night?

There are many animals and insects that can cause holes in your lawn. Some of these creatures may be different from others. The UK is likely to have holes appearing overnight due to moles, foxes or badgers. However, there are other insects and animals that can cause problems.

Fox digging is very common that many of us gardeners don’t know at first. We also wrote a separate post on how to stop foxes from digging gardens.

Once you know the size and shape of the hole caused by which animal and when they are active, then you can decide what to do next. You can prevent this from happening again (if it is possible) by considering the following.

Time of Year

When you notice holes in your lawn, it is important to think about the time of year. Foxes, for example, may dig holes in your lawn in autumn or spring to find earthworms and grubs. In wetter conditions, earthworms and grubs are more likely to be found on the ground than they are in dry.


The shape of the hole can often be a clue as to what is causing your lawn’s problems. While some insects and pests leave conical mounds, others leave a mess. An example of this is an earthworm leaving a 2cm-sized mound of soil around the hole, while a mole leaves a large mound that looks like a volcano.


A hole measuring 1 foot in diameter will rule out any possible culprits. This is because a bird that is digging up earthworms is unlikely to have left a hole this large. A large hole could indicate that badgers are beginning to dig a new set of earthworms, while tiny holes might be caused by insects emerging from their eggs.

Potential Culprits that May Dig Holes in Lawns UK


Moles are subterranean mammals living underground and only come to the surface during mating season when they may encounter other moles. They are good at digging soil, eating insects and larvae that could become pests in future. However, they can also cause lawn damage by getting under your lawn.

Molehills can be easily identified as small, volcano-like mounds measuring 1 1/2 feet in diameter with a small hole of 2 to 3 inches at the top. You’ll see molehills when a mole builds new tunnels, or repairs damaged ones.


Foxes are great scavengers. They can be seen wandering through gardens looking for food, whether it is in the trash or, if the weather allows, on your lawn.

Foxes can be a problem if the ground is wet and soft. Earthworms and grubs are closer to the surface. One fox could make mincemeat out of your lawn in a matter of hours, searching for tasty morsels just outside of reach. Fox holes look similar to what a dog might dig. The holes are dug the same way. Foxes will continue to dig the soil with their paws until they find what it is they are searching for. 

If you have recurring troubles with foxes, here is a guide on how to get rid of foxes from gardens.


You may be aware that squirrels are rodents, and grey squirrels in the UK are considered vermin. Squirrels can cause lawn damage by digging up their nuts, which is a nuisance. The holes that squirrels dig are usually only 1 to 2 inches in depth and are often backfilled with soil.

Squirrels are usually asleep at night, but they are early risers and it is more likely that you will catch them at dawn.


Badgers are definitely night creatures and many people don’t even see them in the wild, except for when they pass one lying on the side of the road following an unfortunate accident. They are a nuisance for gardeners although they will eat all kinds of earthworms and other grubs. But they will also dig up and eat your bulbs. Badgers love tulips and will dig up your lawn to eat them.


Although magpies are well-known for digging in lawns, this usually happens during the day and not at night. Magpies will search the lawn for grubs or other tasty insects, such as leatherjackets.


It can be very frustrating to see holes in your lawn at night. Large numbers of holes can cause serious problems. Although you won’t have to worry about the small insects and earthworms that may appear in your lawn at night, mammals can cause serious problems and make even the most beautiful lawn look like a cow field overnight.

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.