14 Animals That Dig Holes (With Pictures)

Animals That Dig Holes
Photo by Şeyma Dalar on Pexels

Burrowing creatures such as moles, foxes, and badgers can be a nuisance when they dig their subterranean homes in our yards.

However, many other creatures rely on digging or burrowing as essential to their lives and lifestyles.

Our article will tell you about many animals that dig holes.

Let’s go! 

1. Burrowing Owls

Burrowing Owls
by Charles Patrick Ewing is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Burrowing owls are first on our list of animals that dig holes. They have an unusual tendency that has taken many people by surprise.

They are frequently observed digging their heads into the ground, which is rare for an animal with wings.

This behavior increases their vulnerability and may look counter-intuitive, but it is done for protection. 

The owl will usually spend the entire day there, waiting for the right moment to hunt.

Surprisingly, these animals that dig holes are active during the day rather than at night, like most of their relatives are.

Burrowing owls can also make a rattlesnake-like sound when threatened.

2. Insects

Insects that Live in Water
Photo by Syed Ali on Unsplash

Insects are also one of the animals that dig holes. While most people are familiar with ants and termites and their underground habits, they may be unaware that insects account for a significant portion of the animals that dwell mostly underground. 

Furthermore, many different species of wasps and spiders have adapted to dig in the earth, such as the Australian mouse spider, which is noted for its remarkable 22-inch deep burrows.

Even bees have been observed building their nests in the earth rather than high in the trees, indicating that there are undoubtedly more insect species capable of maintaining a subterranean lifestyle yet to be discovered.

3. Rabbits

Burrowing is essential to the rabbit’s natural existence, and its significance is sometimes underestimated.

It gives them much-needed safety and security and the ability to flee rapidly if they feel threatened. 

Digging deep below helps them build a safe haven for themselves and a network of tunnels with several exit points.

The extensive network of tunnels also provides these animals that dig holes with camouflage and safety from predators. 

4. Voles

Prairie Voles - Animals that Mate for Life
by Wildreturn is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Voles are next on our list of animals that dig holes and are the ultimate survivors in nature.

Digging trenches in the ground protects them from the rigors of winter, such as searing winds, subzero temperatures, and freezing rain. 

Voles, genuine hoarders of insulation and food rations, use their underground tunnels to stockpile enough food to last them through the winter.

While their homes may appear basic compared to what humans can construct, these little abodes are frequently surprisingly warm and cozy for voles to get well-deserved rest during winter. 

5. Bilbies

by Jack Slack is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Bilbies are amazing animals that dig holes with unusual defense strategies to keep predators at bay.

They not only dig their own sophisticated underground burrows, but these tunnels may reach astonishing lengths of up to 10 feet – effectively too deep for most predators to explore.

Even more amazing, these micro engineers manage to create their own spiral-shaped tunnel networks that run in an arc-shaped pattern near the earth – no easy accomplishment given their size.  

6. Meerkats

Meerkats are extremely intelligent when it comes to creating the most sophisticated subsurface systems of any mammal.

They often construct a massive underground structure with a 16-foot diameter and 15 entrances.

That’s impressive in and of itself, but the largest ever seen was 82 by 105 feet wide and had 90 access and exit ports! 

They have other tiers in addition to that. This helps them maintain the temperature inside because they are chilly during the day and warm at night – ideal for avoiding excessive temperature changes! 

Not only that, but their burrows let them hide from predators like hyenas.

It’s no surprise that meerkats will spend significant time in these routes; if given the opportunity, they may even try to invade other meerkats’ tunnels and build new ones in succession.

7. Prairie Dogs

Prairie Dogs
by USFWS Headquarters is licensed under CC BY 2.0

While these animals that dig holes appear to be more like dogs than squirrels at first appearance, their ability to burrow in the dirt is extremely astonishing.

They build tunnels and systems not only to manage temperature but also to give protection from environmental risks such as floods and fires. 

Not only that, but their burrows may stretch as deep as 10 feet to protect them from predators, and they even have specialized chambers for different requirements, such as nurseries for young and winter chambers to keep them warm during the colder months.

8. Badger

Honey Badgers - animals immune to snake venom
by Peter Trimming is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Badgers are tiny mammals that construct sophisticated tunnel networks.

These so-called burrows can include various entry and exit locations and specific sleeping or nesting chambers. 

These underground houses are primarily utilized to protect themselves from predators, but this comes at a cost.

Hunting badgers in their own burrows has become a popular hobby; our dachshunds’ forefathers were specifically bred to fit inside these tunnels and hunt the badger occupants.

Despite their diminutive size, these animals that dig holes are extremely powerful diggers, capable of boring not just through the dirt beneath them but also through built foundations and other structures.

9. Earthworm

by schizoform is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Earthworms add vital nutrients to the soil and serve as an incubator for a variety of little organisms, all while raising moisture and aeration levels below ground.

Without these incredible diggers, the environment would be in shambles. Their contributions should not be overlooked; they are essential to any terrestrial ecology! 

Despite their prodigious nature and power, these animals that dig holes are never recognized for their daily toil.

They can not only use power 10 times their own body weight to expand fissures and migrate underground, but they can also aid in reducing weed growth, promote improved water drainage, and make soils more permeable. 

10. Raccoons

by Juliana Chong is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When it comes to gaining what they need, raccoons are impressively bright and creative; they’ll use their sharp intelligence to find food by adopting a variety of tactics.

They are not only skilled climbers but also strong swimmers and can dig holes with ease. 

This incredible talent has piqued the interest of numerous scientific experts, who frequently investigate why raccoons dig for food.

Most scientists think these animals that dig holes are most likely looking for a nice meal – earthworms – in their natural surroundings.

11. Groundhogs

Groundhogs - Animals With Blue Eyes
by webhamster is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Groundhogs are one of the animal species that recognize the value of burrows as a necessary habitat.

They use underground burrows for protection, sleeping chambers, hibernation, and child-rearing.

Surprisingly, a single groundhog lives in each burrow alone, but more than one can be found in the same den.

It’s incredible how these animals that dig holes plan their burrows with such care, providing complete weather protection and even erecting bathrooms complete with waste chambers.

12. Skunks

by cogdogblog is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Skunks are also on our list of animals that dig holes. Although skunks do not appear to be the most threatening creatures to humans, their burrows in our yards can be incredibly unpleasant.

These creatures construct holes that quickly grow into gigantic tunnels by digging for bug larvae and worms

Skunks will not normally stay in one spot for an extended amount of time due to their minimal chance of needing to hide from predators; nonetheless, they will undoubtedly disrupt things while they are present.

Skunks, like raccoons, will eventually locate a more permanent residence outside our yards.

13. Moles

Moles - Animals With Claws
by rightee is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Moles have long been known for their amazing digging ability, and they are among the most skilled and efficient diggers in the animal kingdom.

Moles may dig tunnels up to 18 feet long in an hour if the soil is suitable.

This is considered a remarkable effort. Especially given that moles spend their entire lives in the tunnels they’ve built.

They serve as the mole’s protective habitat while also giving solitude and safety from predators.

These animals that dig holes also utilize the tunnels to hunt worms and other small critters, laced with chemicals that paralyze their prey when they come into touch with them.

14. Pocket Gophers

Pocket Gophers
by Monkeystyle3000 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

These fascinating tiny creatures are noted for their continuous digging into the earth.

These dynamic diggers found all over North America, can quickly construct and fill tunnels with their muscular claws and keen teeth.

Pocket Gophers frequently construct huge subterranean burrows that can reach lengths up to five meters.

These animals that dig holes defend themselves against predators by hiding the entrances to these tunnels in the dirt. 


While most creatures dig burrows to protect themselves from predators, others have gone above and beyond to develop incredibly amazing subterranean systems.

Meerkats, groundhogs, and badgers develop elaborate underground habitats that exceed even the most accomplished human construction projects.

These animals that dig holes provide access to food sources that would otherwise be unavailable to other creatures, such as raccoons and skunks.

On the other hand, Moles spend their entire lives underground because it is their only protection from the outside world

All these animals that dig holes demonstrate that the world beneath our feet is significantly more intricate than we realize.

Burrowing animals build holes intuitively for a variety of reasons.

While this may be an annoyance for homeowners, keep in mind that the animals are simply trying to survive. 

Some animals dig holes for sustenance, while others dig holes for refuge.

If you have one of these animals that dig holes on your property, the best thing you can do is try to coexist with them or figure out the most effective strategy to keep them away.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like