Your backyard is your private oasis, a place for relaxation and enjoyment. However, when you discover mysterious holes scattered across your lawn, it can be a bit unnerving. In this guide, we’ll help you identify the culprits behind these holes and provide solutions to address the issue effectively.
Common Yard-Digging Culprits
Before we dive into the identification process, let’s get acquainted with some of the most common animals that might be responsible for those holes:
- Moles: Moles are small, underground mammals known for creating raised tunnels and mounds in yards. They primarily feed on earthworms and grubs.
- Voles: Often mistaken for moles, voles are small rodents with a penchant for gnawing on plant roots. They create surface runways and small holes in your yard.
- Squirrels: These agile creatures often bury nuts and seeds in lawns, creating holes in search of their hidden treasures. They are active during the day and can be seen digging holes around trees.
- Skunks: Skunks dig shallow, cone-shaped holes in search of insects, grubs, and other underground delicacies. They usually dig at night.
- Raccoons: Raccoons have a habit of digging in search of insects, especially in moist soil or gardens. Their digging activity may vary from shallow holes to deeper excavations.
- Birds: Certain bird species, such as crows and robins, may dig small holes in search of insects, earthworms, or even food scraps. Their holes are typically shallow and scattered.
Observe the Hole Shape and Depth
To identify the animal responsible for the holes in your yard, start by observing their characteristics. Moles, for instance, create round, volcano-shaped mounds in your lawn, whereas squirrels often dig small, shallow holes around trees or in garden beds. Skunk holes are usually deeper and cone-shaped, while vole runways resemble surface tunnels.
Check the Timing
The timing of the hole-digging activity can also provide clues. Moles and voles are active year-round. Squirrels are most active during the day, and skunks tend to dig at night.
Examine Nearby Evidence
Take a closer look around the holes for additional evidence. Molehills, raised tunnels, or soil pushed to the surface are indicators of mole activity. Voles may leave behind gnawed plant roots and runways in your yard. Squirrel holes often have evidence of nut shells or other debris, and skunk holes might have a distinct odor.
Once you’ve identified the responsible animal, you can choose an appropriate method to address the issue:
- Moles: Use deterrents like castor oil-based repellents. Consider employing professional mole removal services if the infestation is severe.
- Voles: Remove tall grass and weeds to reduce their hiding spots. Discourage them with fencing and predator decoys like owls or hawks.
- Squirrels: Use squirrel-proof bird feeders to prevent them from digging in search of food and trim tree branches that provide access to your yard.
- Skunks: Remove potential food sources like fallen fruit and secure trash bins.
- Raccoons: Secure trash bins with tight-fitting lids. Remove any potential food sources from your yard. Seek professional assistance if raccoon activity persists.
- Birds: To deter birds from digging in your yard, consider using bird netting, scare tactics, or motion-activated sprinklers.
Prevent Future Digging
Preventing future digging activity is essential to maintaining a hole-free yard:
- Remove Attractants: Keep your yard free of food sources like fallen fruit, nuts, and pet food that might attract animals.
- Secure Trash Bins: Invest in raccoon-resistant trash bins to deter nocturnal visitors.
- Fencing: Install fences around your garden to keep animals out.
- Repellents: Consider using natural or commercial repellents to deter digging animals.
- Regular Maintenance: Keep your lawn well-maintained, as animals are less likely to dig in well-groomed yards.
- Professional Assistance: If the problem persists or you’re uncertain about handling it yourself, consult with a pest control professional for guidance and assistance.
Humane Wildlife Removal
While it can be frustrating to deal with animals digging holes in your yard, it’s essential to address the issue compassionately. Avoid using lethal traps or harmful chemicals that can harm or kill wildlife. Instead, focus on humane methods to discourage digging and encourage animals to seek food and shelter elsewhere.
If you’re having a hard time identifying the animal responsible for digging holes in your yard, or you need help getting rid of unwanted visitors, give us a call. We’re here to help.