Holes in Lawn? What is Digging Holes In My Garden UK?

If you wish to maintain your lawn in pristine condition, nothing is more frustrating than waking up to find holes where you didn’t see them before going to bed.

We’ll see what we can do to help you figure out who’s been causing your lawn to become an eyesore and ruining your morning. Let’s try and figure out who the real culprit is. There are a number of possible candidates.

When we examine the size and shape of holes in your lawn, we can get an idea of who or what created them overnight. Some are obvious, but some you didn’t realize did so.

As the seasons change, various animals are active at different times. Some animals may be laying eggs while others might be looking for food.

Why does my lawn have small holes dug at night?

It is possible for different types of animals, insects, and rodents to create holes in your lawn. Moles, foxes, badgers, and squirrels are most often responsible for the holes that appeared overnight in the UK, but other animals and insects can also be responsible.

When you can determine which animal caused the hole, its size and shape, as well as when it is active, you will know what to do next. Ideally, you will want to consider one, if not all, of the below in order to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Time of Year

When you notice holes in your lawn overnight, you should consider the time of year. You may notice foxes digging holes in your garden looking for grubs and earthworms, for instance, during autumn or early spring. Wet weather means that earthworms and grubs will be near the surface, making them easier to discover.

Shape Of Hole

In many cases, determining what is causing your lawn’s holes is determined by the shape of the holes. Conical mounds are left by some pests and insects, while a mess is left by others. When an earthworm burrows into a hole, it leaves a tiny mound, while a mole leaves a huge mound like a mini volcano.

Size Of Hole

One can eliminate some of the possible culprits based on the size of the hole. A bird plucking up earthworms is not likely to leave a hole 1ft across. The large hole could suggest that badgers are excavating a new sett, whereas the tiny holes may indicate insects hatching from their eggs and are emerging into the world.

Identifying Potential Culprits who Dig Holes in Lawns in the UK.

There are several causes for small holes forming in your lawn overnight and to be honest, you may not even notice it if it’s something small, like an earthworm or hatching insect. In addition, birds may damage your lawn but usually only during the day. Mammalian damage to lawns may be caused by the following examples.


A mole is a subterranean mammal that spends most of its life underground except for during mating season, when it may encounter other moles.

Mole digging can help till the ground and eat insects, larvae, and eggs that may become pests if they get under your lawn, they can also be a real nuisance.

Generally, molehills look like a small volcano with a small hole at the top about 1 12 feet across. 

Mole mounds in the lawn
Mole mounds in the lawn

When moles excavate or repair tunnels, they create molehills to dispose of the waste soil.

Mole removal is notoriously difficult, but you can try a few good methods to get rid of them humanely.


The fox is a scavenger, so they tend to wander around gardens in search of food, whether in the rubbish or on your lawn depending on the weather.

If the ground is soft and wet, and earthworms and grubs are close to the surface, foxes can become a problem. It won’t take a fox long to make mincemeat of your lawn in just 1 night in pursuit of tasty morsels that may be hidden.

As foxes dig their holes in the same manner as dogs, they look a lot like dog holes. As foxes search for food, their paws scrape away at the soil until they locate it.

Fox Hole
Fox Hole


It may surprise you to learn that squirrels are little rodents and that the grey squirrel is considered vermin in the UK.

In particular, squirrels can be problematic since they can bury their nuts and then dig them up again, and their holes are usually smaller than those dug by foxes and are usually only 1 to 2 inches deep.

If you are an early riser and suspect squirrels, you are likely to catch them in the act at dawn since they are not active at night


A badger is a creature of the night, and many people don’t have the luck of seeing one in the wild unless they happen upon one lying on the roadside after an accident.

The badger can be a real pest in the garden because they will eat not just earthworms, but also bulbs and dig them up. It is likely that badgers are responsible for holes in your lawn around the time when your tulips disappear.

Badger digging in the lawn for food.
Badger digging in the lawn for food.


It’s a fact that magpies can dig in lawns as well, but this is usually done during the day, rather than at night. The magpies might be searching the lawn for insects such as leatherjackets and grubs that are super tasty for them. 


The appearance of holes in your lawn at night can be a real irritation, and if there are many holes in the lawn, it can be quite detrimental to your lawn. The problems arise not from the holes caused by earthworms or small insects, but rather from the wildlife that is capable of making lawns look like cow pastures overnight.

Frequently Asked Questions