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Squirrel Holes in Yard: STOP Them Digging Up Lawn

Did you notice squirrel holes in your yard? Depending on its extent, this issue can cause damage to your beautiful lawn. But how can you stop squirrels from digging up your lawn?

Squirrels can be a nuisance for homeowners trying to maintain a nicely landscaped yard and lawn. These small rodents have a tendency to dig holes all over yards as they search for food or create burrows.

Key Takeaways

  • Squirrels dig holes in yards for food storage and nesting, impacting lawn aesthetics.
  • Identifying squirrel holes can differentiate them from other animal diggings.
  • Strategies to prevent digging include physical barriers, repellents, and scare tactics.
  • Addressing squirrel lawn damage involves filling holes, seeding, and consistent lawn care.

The quarter-sized holes that squirrels leave behind can ruin the aesthetic of a yard and even turn into safety hazards if left unchecked. Fortunately, there are steps homeowners can take to deter squirrels from tearing up their lawns.

Squirrel Holes in Yard: Why do Squirrels Dig Up Lawns?

Here are the main reasons why squirrels digg up lawns and make holes in your yard:

Storing food

Tree squirrels like gray, red, and flying squirrels will dig holes about 1 inch wide and 1 inch deep in lawns and gardens. These holes are used to store or “cache” food like seeds, nuts, and acorns for the winter when less food is available. Squirrels will bury their food caches all around yards and return later to retrieve the items.

A single squirrel can create hundreds or even thousands of these shallow holes in the fall months leading up to winter.

For squirrels, digging holes is a survival instinct. They collect acorns, nuts, seeds, and other food items and bury them in various locations. By doing this, they create a cache of resources to sustain them during leaner times when food may not be as readily available. This storing behavior also serves as a way for squirrels to mark their territory, as they remember the precise locations of their food stashes.

Some types of ground squirrels may also dig more extensive burrow systems up to 6 feet deep with multiple entry points. These burrows are used for shelter, resting, and raising young. The mounds of dirt created around ground squirrel burrows can be even more destructive to a lawn’s appearance.


In addition to storing food, ground squirrels also dig holes for nesting purposes. When a squirrel chooses to make your lawn or garden its home, it may create burrows in the ground to provide a safe and sheltered space for raising its young. These nests, often lined with leaves, twigs, and other soft materials, act as cozy dwellings for squirrel families.

By excavating these nesting burrows, female ground squirrels create a safe environment for their offspring. These underground dens help protect their young from predators and provide a secluded retreat away from harsh weather conditions.

On the other hand, it is essential to note that tree squirrel nests are typically located in trees or other elevated areas.

If you have ground squirrels digging holes in your yard, they may have decided to nest there. If instead, you see tree squirrels digging up your lawn, it is likely that they are just storing some food for winter.

Identifying Squirrel Holes

When it comes to identifying critter holes in your yard, it’s important to be able to distinguish between those made by squirrels, rats, or snakes. By understanding the differences in size, shape, and location, you can determine which critter is responsible and take appropriate action. Let’s take a closer look at how to identify squirrel holes.

Signs of Squirrel Holes in your yard

Here’s how to recognize squirrel holes in your garden:

  • About 1-2 inch wide
  • Only 1-2 inches deep
  • Dug in the fall and early winter months
  • Little to no loose soil around the hole
  • May contain buried nuts, seeds, or other food items

Squirrel Vs Rat Holes

Squirrels and rats may seem like they’re just two peas in a pod, but when it comes to wreaking havoc in your yard, they leave different clues behind. So, how can you tell if those tiny holes scattered around your garden are the handiwork of a squirrel or a rat? Here’s how:

  1. Size matters: Squirrel holes tend to be smaller, no larger than two inches in diameter, while rat holes can be bigger and more menacing.
  2. Location: Squirrels prefer to dig their holes near trees or structures, seeking safety and shelter. Rats, on the other hand, aren’t so picky and will make holes just about anywhere they please.
  3. Shape: Squirrel holes are often round and neatly excavated, resembling a miniature doorway right into your garden. Rat holes, however, can look more jagged, messy, and gnawed around the edges.

Squirrel Holes vs Snake Holes

While squirrel holes may be easy to identify, differentiating them from snake holes can be a bit trickier. It’s important to note that snakes do not dig holes themselves. They typically utilize existing burrows or create temporary shelters within crevices or dense vegetation. These shelters are not true holes, but rather hiding spots for the snake.

If you come across a hole that you suspect may be created by a snake, there are a few key characteristics to look out for:

  1. Size: Snake holes are often small and circular, typically around 1 inch in diameter. Snake holes are typically narrower in diameter compared to squirrel holes. Ground squirrel holes are wider and allow for easy entry and exit, snake holes are often more narrow, just wide enough for the snake to maneuver through.
  2. Appearance: They may have loose or scattered soil around the entrance due to the snake’s movement. However, these holes usually do not have signs of digging or claw marks like squirrel holes do.
  3. Depth: Squirrel holes are generally shallow, usually extending only a few inches below the surface. On the other hand, snake holes can be much deeper, as snakes require more subterranean shelter. They can extend several feet below the surface, leading to complex burrow systems.

Damage Caused by Squirrels

While the shallow caching holes squirrels dig may not cause permanent damage, they can still be incredibly disruptive and frustrating for homeowners. Some issues caused by squirrels digging in lawns include:

  • Ruined lawns or gardens from the hundreds of small holes
  • Uprooted plants, flowers, and bulbs from squirrels digging around roots
  • Trip hazards from holes in the lawn
  • Compromised structural integrity of homes if ground squirrels dig near foundations

Squirrels don’t restrict their digging to lawns and gardens either. They will also dig holes in other landscaped areas, golf courses, parks, flower beds, and planters. The damage can be extensive and require costly re-landscaping work to fix.

Finally, keep in mind that also other animals like rabbits can damage your lawn. However, rabbits will leave different signs on your grass compared to squirrels.

Keeping Squirrels Out Of Your Yard and Lawn

The best way to save your lawn and garden from squirrel damage is to proactively deter them from digging in those areas. Here are some effective squirrel deterrents to try:

1. Block the Access

Physically prevent squirrels from being able to dig in your lawn or garden beds:

  • Place wire mesh fencing at least 1 foot deep around gardens
  • Cover freshly seeded areas with burlap until grass emerges
  • Use heavy objects like bricks or stones to weigh down corners of the turf

For severe squirrel problems, a lawn can be resodded after the start of winter when squirrels are less active.

Here’s what you need to create physical barriers to keep squirrels out of your garden:

The Best Squirrel-Proof Barriers

2. Use Repellents

Apply taste and scent repellents in areas frequented by squirrels:

  • Sprinkle cayenne pepper, chili powder, or black pepper
  • Spray concentrated peppermint oil, garlic oil, or citrus oil
  • Use predator urine like coyote, fox, or wolf urine

Reapply repellents after heavy rains. Squirrels will avoid areas with these strong scents and flavors.

3. Scare Squirrels Away

Frighten squirrels away from your lawn with scare tactics like:

Ultrasonic Devices

Ultrasonic devices designed to repel squirrels offer a modern and humane approach to dealing with these pesky creatures. Emitting high-frequency sound waves that are inaudible to humans, these devices effectively deter squirrels from invading your yard or damaging your property.

They provide a safe and chemical-free solution, creating an uncomfortable environment for the squirrels without harming them. Easy to install and operate, these ultrasonic devices offer an eco-friendly option to protect your garden, lawn, or yard from squirrel intrusion.

Here’s the best ultrasonic repellent for your garden. It’s motion activated and solar-powered, so you don’t have to worry about batteries.

The Best Squirrel Repellents

Motion activated sprinklers

Safeguard your lawn and garden from squirrels with motion-activated sprinklers. These innovative devices detect movement and unleash a sudden burst of water, effectively deterring squirrels from digging and causing damage to your outdoor space. An eco-friendly and humane solution for squirrel control.

Motion-Activated Sprinkler

  • Motion activated sprinklers
  • Ultrasonic devices: Those repel squirrels with high-frequency sound waves, providing a humane and eco-friendly solution for protecting your property.
  • Fake predators like owl decoys or rubber snakes
  • Noisemakers like clanging pie tins, bells, or wind chimes
  • Shiny objects that move in the wind like aluminum pans, mylar tape, or pinwheels

Fake predators

Repel squirrels using fake predators like owl decoys or rubber snakes. These visual deterrents create the illusion of danger, effectively discouraging squirrels from entering your yard or causing damage to your property. An affordable and non-harmful solution for squirrel prevention.

Just remember to periodically move the decoys around or the squirrels will get used to its presence.

Here’s the best decoy to scare the squirrels:

Decoy To Scare The Squirrels


Keep squirrels away from your yard by using clever tricks like hanging clanging pie tins, bells, or wind chimes. The noise these items create will make squirrels think twice before invading your space. It’s an affordable and easy way to repel those little troublemakers!

Shiny objects

Give those pesky squirrels a run for their money with shiny objects that sway in the breeze, such as aluminum pans, mylar tape, or pinwheels. The glimmering motion catches their attention and gives them second thoughts about messing with your yard. It’s a fun and effective way to keep them at bay!

Use a combination of different scare tactics and move them around periodically so squirrels don’t get used to them.

4. Remove Food Sources

Eliminate any food sources from your yard that could attract squirrels to dig caches. This includes:

  • Pick up fallen nuts, seeds, fruits, pet food, and trash
  • Remove bird feeders, or even better, use squirrel-proof bird feeders like the one below
  • Cover compost piles
  • Keep garbage bins securely closed

Cutting off their food supply removes the motivation for squirrels to dig caches on your property.

Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder

Additionally, removing potential nesting materials, such as piles of leaves or twigs, can make your yard less appealing to squirrels. Regularly cleaning up fallen branches and debris can help prevent the creation of cozy squirrel nests.

6. Tempt them with treats

Tempt those crafty squirrels away from your yard by offering them irresistible treats. Set up a designated feeding area with nuts or birdseed to divert their attention and keep them from digging up your lawn. It’s a tasty strategy that can help preserve your yard’s integrity.

However, keep in mind that feeding the squirrels can cause an increase in the local squirrel population.

If everything else fails or if you have a severe squirrel issue, they you may need to look for professional help.

7. Squirrel Removal Services

For homeowners battling a severe squirrel infestation, it may be necessary to hire professional squirrel removal services. Extermination companies can legally trap and relocate squirrels found on your property.

They can also identify entry points in the home where squirrels may be nesting and make repairs. Sealing attic vents, eaves, and roof openings will prevent future squirrel access.

Professionals have access to stronger squirrel repellents and bait that are not available to the public. Combining squirrel removal with excluded is the most effective way to fully evict squirrels.

Signs You Need Professional Help:

  • Squirrel entry into the home’s attic or walls
  • Unable to locate or completely seal squirrel entry points
  • Squirrels continue digging holes after trying deterrents
  • A large number of squirrels on the property

A reputable wildlife control company can assess your unique situation and customize a squirrel control plan for your home and yard.

Fixing squirrel lawn damage

If your lawn has fallen victim to squirrel damage, don’t fret. Follow these steps to restore its glory:

  1. Remove debris: Begin by raking away any leaves, sticks, or other materials the squirrels may have brought in.
  2. Fill in holes: Use a shovel to gently level the soil and fill in any squirrel-dug holes. Firmly press down the soil to ensure it is evenly distributed.
  3. Seed the bare spots: Sprinkle high-quality grass seeds over the areas where the squirrels have left bare spots. Rake the seeds lightly into the soil or cover them with a thin layer of straw to protect them.
  4. Water regularly: Keep the seeded areas consistently moist by watering them regularly. This will help the grass seeds germinate and establish new growth.
  5. Protect your lawn: Consider adding a barrier or deterrent to keep squirrels away from your newly restored lawn. You can use wire mesh or fencing to keep them out of specific areas or try natural repellents like spicy pepper sprays or predator urine.
  6. Monitor and maintain: Keep an eye on your lawn and continue to care for it. Regularly water, mow, and fertilize as needed to promote healthy growth and discourage squirrels from returning.

By following these steps and persevering with good lawn care practices, you can revitalize your yard, leaving no trace of squirrel damage behind.


Squirrels may seem harmless, but their burrow systems can cause a whole host of problems. From damaging underground wiring and piping to creating trip hazards for both humans and pets, squirrel holes can wreak havoc on your yard and property.

Whether it’s squirrel deterrents, filling in the holes, or even calling in the professionals, there are steps you can take to reclaim your yard from these furry invaders. So don’t let squirrel holes bring down the aesthetic appeal of your landscape or jeopardize the structural integrity of your property. Take action and show those squirrels who’s boss!

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