Why Are Squirrels Digging Up My Garden?

  • By: CarlBroadbent
  • Time to read: 6 min.
Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

You’ll probably see a squirrel in your yard at some point or another; these animals are everywhere. In fact, they live on every continent apart from Antarctica and Australia.

There is an animal that is known as a ‘squirrel’ down under but it’s actually a petauridae. In any case, those who are looking to keep their garden blooming and beautiful will likely want rid of these little creatures because of the destruction they cause.

If you’ve ever noticed a squirrel digging up your lawn, you’ll probably want to know why.

Squirrels are foraging animals, looking for food and storing it until they are ready to eat. They’ll occasionally do this under the cover of darkness but, for the most part, squirrels are active during the day. While there might not be a lot of food within the grass, apart from a few seeds or bulbs, squirrels will often dig in this area to make holes for storing their food. 

squirrel digging up garden

There are around 275 species of squirrel in the world and the USA alone is home to around 2 billion individual squirrels.

So, it’s more of a case of learning to live alongside one another but there are a few things you can do to stop those little creatures from digging up your beautifully maintained lawn. 

Why Do Squirrels Dig In My Lawn?

Squirrels are foragers that will spend huge amounts of time looking for food and they really aren’t too fussy with what they eat.

We’ve already talked about their love for bulbs in this article but they’ll also go mad for things like nuts and seeds. But once they have found their food, they need somewhere to stash it and this is one of the main reasons you will find them digging up your lawn. 

Some people are under the impression that squirrels dig holes to hide from predators but this isn’t the case as this would leave them largely exposed. 

Are Squirrels Problematic For My Garden?

As we have learned, squirrels live all around the world so it’s only a matter of time before you’ll see at least one visiting your garden.

In some cases, depending on the local conditions, you may have many furry little visitors to your yard. One of the biggest problems is that squirrels carry diseases.

However, the good news is that, with modern sanitation and public health offering good protection for sick squirrels, the transfer of disease is very unlikely, unless you are bitten.

squirrel
Squirrels will eat and dig up your flowers

But for your garden, the squirrel can be a significant pest. It has the ability to cause some serious devastation to your lawn through tunneling and not to mention the aesthetic problems that a lot of holes will cause.

If you grow plants in your garden then this kind of disruption will affect their health and of course, the squirrels might even eat parts of them.

Squirrels may make burrows but they might not stay for the long term. Once abandoned, these burrows become attractive to other animals that may also serve as pests. 

Another issue is that squirrels like to chew so you might find that any electrical equipment in your garden becomes damaged should they get hold of the cables. 

How To Tell If A Hole Has Been Made By A Squirrel

There is a lot of wildlife in the US and while that is a good thing in some ways, it can be problematic in others.

Unless you have actually seen a squirrel digging up your garden, you cannot be certain that the holes were made by the animal. But there are a few ways to tell if a squirrel is the culprit.

Holes that are dug by squirrels are typically quite small, measuring up to around 5cm and they won’t be particularly deep.

You might notice some food inside the hole and it’s very rare that any soil will surround the hole. However, there are some squirrel species that will tunnel so this isn’t always the most reliable method of determining who made the hole.

However, tunnels made by squirrels tend to cover a much smaller area than other animals like gophers and moles.

Ways To Stop Squirrels Digging Up Your Lawn

If you have been experiencing problems with the squirrel population in your yard then don’t consider moving just yet.

There are a few things you can try to deter squirrels from entering your garden in the first place. 

Don’t Provide Food

It can be tempting to set up a squirrel feeding station because watching these adorable little animals enjoying some food is a pleasure.

squirrel will take food

While you might think that you are doing them a favor, in reality, you’re simply attracting them to your garden. What’s more, you’re providing them with the food that they’ll want to hide in your lawn.

Once they associate your yard with a food source, they’ll keep coming back.

Get A Dog

When we say ‘get a dog’, we don’t just mean a harmless little family pet that doesn’t pose a threat. What we mean is a guard dog. These animals should spend the majority of their time outside, roaming the property in search of a threat. 

Now, while we aren’t suggesting doing something as inhumane as buying a vicious dog that will kill or main the squirrels, it can be a good idea to buy one that is large enough and curious enough to interact with them.

This will be threatening enough to the squirrels to keep them at bay.

Make Them Think There Are Predators

Squirrels are prey animals and so are constantly on the look-out for predators. It’s unlikely that they’ll bump into a real life predator in your garden such as an owl but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make them believe they are there. 

If you’re going to place plastic owls and foxes around your garden, it’s important to buy ones that are realistic otherwise the squirrels won’t be fooled.

They’re intelligent animals that learn quickly. Alternatively, you could spray the yard with scents that smell like the urine of the predators which should be enough to deter the squirrels. 

Keep Your Trash Tidy

Since squirrels are scavengers, they will find your trash incredibly attractive. For this reason, it is essential to keep a lid on it and make sure that everywhere is kept neat and tidy.

squirrel

This includes ensuring that any pet food is kept inside the house as opposed to in the garden. While it isn’t a natural squirrel food, it tends to have a strong smell that will entice their curiosity. 

Use Mesh On The Soil

If you have a flower garden or are growing food in your yard then we would highly recommend covering the soil with a wire mesh.

You’ll need to make sure it gives the plants enough space to grow but would make it more difficult for a squirrel to dig. The problem with this method is that it is not suitable for your lawn. 

Conclusion

It’s not uncommon to find a squirrel or two in your yard and if they’re causing no problems, feel free to sit back and watch nature.

However, if you’ve noticed that squirrels are digging up your lawn, you may need to do something about it.