What is Digging Holes in My Garden at Night? (Australian Guide)

There are many animals and insects which dig holes in garden soil.

Hole-digging animals range from Bandicoots to Earthworms.

In this guide, we will explore all the various options and hopefully help you identify exactly what it is that is digging in your garden at night.


bandicoot | Pest control

Bandicoots are small marsupial animals that are native to Australia. They are common culprits for digging holes in lawns and gardens at night.

Bandicoots don’t dig deep holes, they just scratch away at the dirt, searching for forage for underground insects to eat.

You will only see them digging holes during nighttime hours because they’re nocturnal creatures.


Echidnas are another common reason for backyard holes. They dig with their flattened claws and push away the soil with their hind feet.

Echidnas dig holes to take shelter from rainy or windy weather or to escape predators.


cicada | Pest control

Cicada nymphs could be responsible for holes in your backyard, especially in the summer months.

According to Australian Museum, “Female cicadas use their ovipositor (a tube-like structure at the end of the body of female cicadas and other insects used to lay eggs) to make slits on branches, where she will eventually lay her eggs. The nymphs then hatch and drop down, burrowing into the soil to feed upon the sap from tree roots.”


Rabbits are very common in Australia. The holes they make can be very long and narrow.

Rabbits live in burrows that they dig out themselves. They are herbivores which means they only eat plants and vegetables.


Many spiders are known to dig holes as part of their normal activity.

Spiders like the Wolf Spider love to make burrows in the ground. They will stay here during the day and then go hunting at night.

Wolf Spiders are found throughout Australia.


monitor | Pest control

Several types of Australian lizards dig holes. During the day, lizards like to take refuge from the heat of the sun by digging shallow burrows with their strong claws.

For example, Goannas dig holes in the ground for their nests as it protects the eggs from predators.


Some species of native Australian bees dig holes in the ground to create nests.

According to Aussie Bee, “Australia has over 1,700 species of native bees and 70% of these species build nests in the ground”.

So, if you’re seeing plenty of empty holes on your lawn or garden, it may be these hardworking pollinators!


Wasps are another potential culprit of your holes.

Many species of wasp, such as mud daubers, dig shallow oval-shaped holes in the ground to lay eggs and store them with larvae.

Mole Crickets

Mole crickets are a type of insect that burrow tunnels underground in the soil and leave a hole on the surface.

They also dig horizontal burrows close to the surface for feeding.

Mole crickets can damage your lawn or garden so it’s best to be vigilant if you think they are active in your backyard.


rat | Pest control

Rats are nocturnal animals and scavengers. If you’ve noticed any holes in your garden, it’s possible they were made by rats.

Rats often build burrows from their nest to a food source like a compost bin.

Their burrows can be as deep as 1 metre into the ground.


Termites are known to be destructive pests. The termite colony consists of a queen, king and their workers.

These blind insects live in colonies and eat wood, which they break down into smaller particles to digest. Termites cause serious damage to homes and gardens.


Ants are a common culprit for holes. Smaller ants will dig holes in the soil, but larger ones may also tunnel through softer materials like mulch or compost.

If you have any kind of ant problem in your garden, it’s important to find out what kind of ant it is and how to get rid of it before trying to solve the issue.


possum | Pest control

Possums are nocturnal creatures that usually live in tree hollows.

While possums don’t dig burrows to live in, they can be responsible for shallow holes that they dig when looking for food.


Earthworms make holes so that oxygen can flow deeper into the earth, which they need to breathe.

This can actually benefit your plants by aerating their roots and making nutrients more available for plant growth.


Wombats dig huge burrows as they need somewhere cool to hide away from the sun. They also use them to hide from predators.

If you have a seriously big hole in your backyard, maybe it’s from a friendly neighbourhood wombat!

Photo of author

Steve Kropp

Based in Melbourne, Steve's passion is vegetable gardening, and he’s been writing about it for almost 5 years. He also loves all things DIY and is always looking for a new project. When not working on his own garden projects or blogging, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, cooking meals with produce harvested from his garden, and coaching his son’s footy team.


3 thoughts on “What is Digging Holes in My Garden at Night? (Australian Guide)”

  1. How can you tell if it is bandicoots or rats,
    I have raised beds in legs (nearly 1m off the ground) and something keeps burrowing into them. Not a hole. More of a scraping excavation.
    I tried putting medium sized stones in to dissuade, the little punks but they are still having a red hot go.
    Something very ratty loves fanging it along the top of the fence.
    Should I get hostile??

    • Hi Mark

      According to Environment NSW, install a floodlight to shine on your garden at night because bandicoots don’t like light. These cute little native animals also don’t like the smell of ammonia so you could try spreading some Dynamic Lifter or chicken manure over your garden or lawn area


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