Small Holes In Lawn Overnight {Causes + How to Fill Them}

Sharing is caring!

You’ve spent your hard-earned money and precious time transforming your lawn into a green haven that prevents erosion, controls floods, and makes your home visually appealing.

So, imagine the horror and frustration in your face if you find tiny holes in lawn overnight.

Holes appearing overnight in your lawn can be made by rodents like rats, voles, squirrels, rabbits, gophers, and moles or insect-feeding creatures such as birds and ground wasps.

You’ll be compelled to fill these holes but it’s paramount to find the causes first to find the right solution.

While getting rid of these holes is important, you should also find a permanent solution. However, remember the ideal solution depends on the cause

What Animal Digs Holes In Yard At Night?

small holes in lawn overnight

As you enjoy your well-deserved night’s sleep, most rodents are up and about, and your lawn may fall victim to their activities. Small holes in your yard can signify the presence of an insect or rodent infestation.

The common culprits include:


1. Earthworms

These are leg-less, tube-shaped, segmented worms in a healthy yard’s soil that creates narrow tunnels, especially in damp soil.

They are essential microorganisms helping mix the earth with air, water, and nutrients and form tiny holes while feeding in the soil, aerating the lawn.

If many earthworm have made your lawn their home, you will find numerous small holes with tiny granular pellets in the yard.

Earthworm holes sprout more in the fall and spring seasons because of warm temperatures, and the soil is moist, conducive conditions for earthworm activity.

Since earthworms are biologically beneficial, don’t kill them. However, if the mud castings ruin your lawn’s aesthetics, let them dry and brush them off.

Moreover, minimize the earthworm activity in your yard by collecting mowing clippings.

2. Beetles

Beetles come in different shapes and forms, but the Japanese beetle is a nightmare in your lawn. These insects lay eggs and bury them in the soil, hatching into larva, called grubs.

Also Read: How to get rid of grubs in lawn naturally

The grubs spend early fall and winter in the soil maturing, and by early summer and spring, they will be mature beetles.

At this time, you will see small holes in the lawn as they start coming out of the ground.

Moreover, grubs cause other yard problems as raccoons, most birds, skunks, armadillos, moles, and wasps try to take out the larvae. Therefore, it’s wise to control them to maintain a green, healthy lawn.

If there are numerous beetles in your yards and their larva, you will likely need pesticides to eradicate them.

3. Voles

Voles are other rodents that can leave holes in your lawn, but fortunately, you can detect their presence by monitoring their characteristics.

Watch out for rodent droppings beside a dead grass trail or clippings of chewed grass as they may indicate voles in holes in yard.  

Read more: How To Get Rid Of Voles In Your Yard

Additionally, field mice might reside in the holes made by voles, and you can determine this by analyzing the droppings. Field mice waste is typically oval-shaped.

4. Moles

Moles feed on soil organisms like grubs and earthworms, digging about 10-inch tunnels underneath your yard surface.

However, mole holes in yard rarely have openings but have up to 24-inch-high volcano-shaped soil mounds covering the openings. 

Read more: How do you kill moles with marshmallows

These animals stay underground and the only time you’ll see the in yard surface is when searching for a mate.

Therefore, moles might be the perpetrators if you find holes and dirt mounds in yard overnight.

Use natural repellents, artificial drought to discourage them, digging a trench, and maintaining a tidy lawn.

If the issue persists, plant natural repellents like alliums, marigolds, daffodils, shallots, fritillarias, garlic, or in your yard.

5. Gophers

Gophers are among the animals that dig holes in your yard and make dirt mounds. These rodents are vegetarians eating grass blades and roots, so vegetation damage signs will be visible on your lawn and find grass blades in the tunnels.

Gopher holes in yard and tunnels burrowed these rodents can compromise your turf’s structural integrity, causing bumpy ground levels.

Also read: How to get rid of gophers

Putting pellets of castor oil, tabasco sauce, coffee grounds, or fish oil in gopher holes repels them.

You can also force them out of your lawn by placing peppermint oil in their burrows, no-kill traps, or kill them with gopher baits with poison.

6. Rats

These tiny rodents can cause significant damages, including serious structural damages. Small rat holes appear near big roots, fences, and tree snags, with gnawing signs and soil thrown during digging, found close to the holes.

These holes are typically approximately 3” wide and show activity close to the opening. Many rat holes can be an early indication of a rat infestation in your home, so it’s best to deal with them immediately.

There are multiple ways to keep rats from your lawn and stop their holes. These include mowing overgrown grass, clearing bushes, sealing gaps, setting traps, removing their open sources of food, and natural rat repellents.

7. Armadillos

If Armadillos live in your area, they could dig holes in your yard overnight. You’ll easily find these tiny, grey-brown animals in the United States southern regions, including Texas and Florida.

Read more: How to get rid of armadillos from your yard

They will develop shallow holes (up to 3-5-inch wide and 1 to 3-inch deep) looking to feed on insects like termites and ants and small invertebrates such as grubs. 

To find out if Armadillos are the leading cause of tiny holes in your yards, check for the presence of grubs and ants.

8. Squirrels And Chipmunks

These cute creatures are mischevious and love eating fruits, vegetables, and flowering plants. Squirrels dig up holes in yards to bury nuts for future use.

If you find tiny holes all over your lawn, it’s likely the job of an Eastern Gray Squirrel who creates small, shallow (about 2 inches wide) holes with no soil mounds around them.

On the other hand, Chipmunks dig tunnels and small burrows to hide from impending danger. Chipmunk holes in your yard will be found in places with buildings, stumps, and log piles.

Also Read: How to Get Rid of Chipmunks 

Consult a pest and wildlife expert if squirrels and chipmunks are a nuisance in your lawn.

9. Wasps

Two categories of wasps dig holes in yards. The first is the Cicada-killer wasp that digs about one-inch-wide holes to find prey then drags them to the surface.

Cicada-killer wasps are prevalent in yards with short grass, so avoid this issue by not cutting your grass too short.

On the other hand, Scoliid wasps dig into the soil to find grubs that they kill and lay eggs on their back.

You can get rid of wasps and other insects with a combination of predatory animals (a majority of birds), proper lawn fertilizer, and insecticides.

10. Crayfish

If you live near water, you may have to deal with holes made by crayfish, with the holes resembling towers. They create about 3-inch high with a diameter of 2 inches holes using mud balls.

11. Birds

Birds hunt and eat grubs, worms, among other insects in your turf, early in the morning. While tiny small birds won’t cause significant damage to the yard, large birds may tear away the lawn while looking for grubs.

However, you shouldn’t be stressed by small random bird holes in your yard. In fact, birds can help regulate the pest population in your garden.

The best way to control birds dug holes in your lawn is to regulate insects and grubs, so use an effective way of eradicating them like a grub killer.

12. Rabbits

Rabbits are adorable pets, but you may not think that way when they dig holes in your lawn to develop a burrow.

The burrows usually comprise tunnels from the primary chamber leading away to provide enough escape routes. 

Rabbit holes in yard are meant for shelter and nesting, but not necessarily for giving birth.

Pictures of Animal Holes in Yard


small holes in lawn overnight
small round holes in the yard

How Do You Keep Animals From Digging Holes In Your Yard?

It’s one thing to know what animal is digging holes in your lawn; finding the appropriate solution is a massive chunk of the work.

Ultimately, animals will keep coming to your yard if it’s appealing for them, offering shelter and food.

Therefore, make your yard unappealing to rodents and insects using the following ways.

1. Eradicate Grubs

Most animals like birds, moles, and armadillos eat grubs, so as long as grubs are available on your lawn, they will keep coming. June is the ideal time to get rid of grubs because it’s when they start feeding in the garden.

Applying more beneficial nematodes in the soil lowers the number of grubs in your soil, reducing the animals’ food sources.

2. Animal Repellents

Animal repellents also effectively prevent animals from creating holes in your yard, and the market offers numerous options.

Castor-oil-based are the most conventional repellents in the market, and they are safe to be used around children and pets.

Common household items like garlic powder and coffee grounds efficiently keep destructive rodents away from your lawn.

3. Seed Regularly

Seeding your yard will give you a deep-rooted lawn that will not be easily destroyed by animals while looking for food or shelter

4. Humane Traps

Trapping and releasing them away from your location is another way of keeping animals out of your yard.

Ensure you always use humane traps to avoid hurting the animals and add incentives like food to attract them.

The size of the animals will also dictate the most suitable trap to get the job done. For instance, raccoons require bigger traps.

5. Physical Barriers

A chain-link fence or chicken barrier can also keep these animals away. While this method is labor-intensive, it might deter animals away, forcing them to seek shelter and food elsewhere.

Read more: Barrier to keep cars off grass

How To Remove Small Holes Dug By Animals In Your Lawn

So, you found out who’s digging small holes in your yard and chose the best solution to prevent it, but there’s one more thing you need to do- fill up the holes.

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

1} Dig and take out the sod’s top layer with a trowel or shovel. Drive the tool 4” into the ground, slide it under the roots of the grass, then lift out the sod. You’ll have to dig more if it’s a tunnel.

 2} Cover the hole using top soil, compacting it to about 3 inches under the surface, but if the spot didn’t have grass, fill the soil to the ground level. Decomposed compost and top soil blend offer an excellent base for grass roots establishment.

3} Cover the bare area with the sod. If it doesn’t cover the entire spot, put sod plugs from other lawn areas.

4} Water the sod twice every day to help make the roots grow quickly. Do this until it blends completely with the grass.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Causes Small Round Holes In Lawn?

Small round holes in your lawn are dug by small rodents such as gophers, squirrels, voles, moles, rats, and insects like wasps. The holes differ based on the animal.

What Is Digging Holes In My Yard At Night?

The common culprits digging holes in your yard at night include rats, armadillos, squirrels, gophers, voles, moles, earthworms, wasps, raccoons, birds, and skunks.


It’s incredibly frustrating when you wake up to holes in lawn dug overnight. 

Small holes in the lawn can be caused by rodents such as moles, voles, gophers and rats, or pest insects like ground wasps and birds that feed on these insects.

It’s never a good sign to find small holes in your yard because it indicates the presence of pests, which can create a bigger problem if left unresolved.

However, you can quickly restore your lawn, making it lush green again within a short period.

However, if the problem is extensive, consider seeking pest control services. Once your home is pest-free, re-establish your yard afresh by removing the old lawn, tilling it, and laying new sod or planting fresh grass.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment