What animals dig at night?

Updated February 21, 2017

Animals dig to hide from predators, to build nests, to find food and for a variety of other reasons. Nocturnal animals typically dig at night and can do a lot of damage to a yard in a brief period of time. Though homeowners may not relish seeing their yards dug up, digging serves an important role in the ecosystem. It can aid in decomposition, distribute plant seeds and keep some animals away.


Armadillos are nocturnal mammals that are related to anteaters and sloths. They have bony protective coverings along their abdomen and may have scaly protrusions along their heads. They are most common in the southern United States, particularly in Texas. Armadillos dig shallow while searching for insects to eat.

Moles and Gophers

Moles and gophers are well-known garden pests that dig holes that can destroy an entire yard. The entrances to their holes are typically not visible. Instead, moles build long and raised tunnels with mounds of dirt covering the burrow's entrance and exit. Various species of these animals live in all areas of the United States and are most common in the Midwest and Southwestern regions.


Kangaroo rats dig large holes that are normally slightly taller than they are wide. They live in these holes, and the bottoms of the holes are not normally visible. These rodents breed quickly, and an entire population may take up residence in a yard in a few weeks. They are most common in dry regions, and their holes are typically built in dry soil. Other species of rats build deep, circular holes in the ground, particularly near gardens and trash piles.


Skunks dig holes looking for insects. These holes are typically small but deep and are most common in rich soil and gardens. Because skunks dig holes to hunt, the holes often have a pattern and are equally spaced, increasing in number each night.


Voles are small rodents that resemble mice, and they are frequently referred to as field mice in the United States. These nocturnal rodents build small burrows with numerous entrance and exit holes. The holes are typically an inch or two wide and closely spaced. These rodents also occasionally take up residence in abandoned mole and gopher burrows.

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About the Author

Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.