Get Rid Of The Animal Digging Holes Around The Foundation

Get Rid Of The Animal Digging Holes Around The Foundation

Animal Digging Holes Around Foundation

This article is about the typical animal digging holes around the foundation. The introduction of rodents, rodent products, and rodent pathogens pose a risk to humans who come into contact with those animals 1 and concern for rodent-borne diseases and their public health importance 3, and regarded as urban pests by the WHO 8. Rats like to live where people live 5 and prefer always damp indoor spaces as damp buildings or foundations 7.

Rodents destroy property, spread disease, compete for human food sources, and are aesthetically displeasing. Rodent-associated diseases affecting humans include plague, murine typhus, leptospirosis, rickettsialpox, and rat-bite fever. The three primary rodents of concern to the homeowner are the Norway rat ( Rattus norvegicus), roof rat ( Rattus rattus), and the house mouse ( Mus musculus) 2, along with other occasional invaders 6.

The most serious disease that animals digging holes around foundation premises can bring is hantavirus, which is occurring frequently since 2022. It is communicated by rodents. Hantavirus started to become a national problem in the United States 12, the European Union in general 13 with Germany in particular 14, and Argentina 15.

Pesticides that can be used against an animal digging holes around foundation premises have a negative impact on indoor air quality 4. Therefore they should be utilized carefully, especially in crawl spaces where that air quality would stack into the living quarters later on.

Animals digging holes around foundation premises are always rodents, especially Norway rats, Roof rats, the house mouse, moles, and voles. Rodent exposure affects the air quality inside the living quarters, being hantavirus the most serious infection communicated by these animals.

The type of animal digging holes around the foundation is usually rodents, mostly in autumn as they prepare for the upcoming winter. They are moles, raccoons, voles, opossums, the house mouse, skunks, roof rats, groundhogs, Norway rats, foxes, gophers, rabbits, armadillos, chipmunks, prairie dogs, and coyotes.

Rodents, such as mice and rats, are common outdoors. To rodents, your home is a warm place with plenty of food and water 9 , so an absolute reduction to the exposure to rodents has to be done quickly 10. It is not a surprise that 82 % of US homes have mouse allergens 11 .

Determination Of The Problem Of Having Animals That Dig Holes In The Foundation

First and foremost, the illnesses that these pests spread cause harm. Your home’s basement or crawl area is not insulated from the outside world. You and your family are exposed to animal waste because of your HVAC system, which distributes air throughout the building.

Some of your crawl space’s encapsulation or vapor barrier may be destroyed by these animals, increasing humidity and smells in your house. Besides the expense of material replacement, this has an effect on your power bills and on the air quality.

The foundation damage these pests do may be less evident, but it is no less important. Fixing unstable foundations may be expensive if animals burrow into the soil surrounding your footings.

The obscure and cold environment provided by a pier and beam foundation is appealing to a wide range of wildlife species. Raccoons and rats are the typical types of animal digging holes around the foundation. If you hear strange noises coming from under your floorboards. It is possible that you have just spotted some unusual activity near your home’s foundation and are now worried that something is attempting to establish a nest there.

To build dens, many of the species of animals tunnel beneath man-made buildings. As well as coyotes and groundhogs are some of the other animals that may be seen in urban areas. They will live in barns, decks, stoops, hot tubs, and even foundations if they can get their claws on them. It is possible that removing the supporting material may cause a foundation settlement. Basement water leaks are often the consequence of drainage problems caused by foundation burrows.

You may find a burrow if you have ever been woken up by the stench of a skunk in your home’s basement or near the foundation. However, it is not unheard of for an animal to get into the basement or crawlspace. An extra structural issue with the foundation is required for this to work. The most typical way into an interior is via a window that extends above the foundation.

Step By Step How To Get Rid Of An Animal Digging Holes Around The Foundation

The first thing you should do is get rid of the bugs. Traps are the most straightforward and dependable method of catching mice. If you are a pet owner, poisons are an option, but the effects may be tragic. A professional exterminator should be contacted if you have bigger rodents such as rats or squirrels. Keeping these animals, which might spread illness to people, should only be done by qualified individuals.

These websites have listings of these services

Instead of exterminating kittens, raccoons, or small mammals in general, look into extraction services. Seek a service provider that employs compassionate removal and re-location procedures.

Once the intruders have been expelled, seal all of the access points to avoid a recurrence of the problem. Your crawl space entrance should be replaced if it does not fit and seal properly. Cracks and open ventilation (known as vents) should be fixed and sealed up.

Are you unsure of how to go about completing these tasks? Metal doors with insulated materials, airtight entrance covers, and crack repair are installed by a service provider. They may also repair or replace any broken vapor barrier and seal any open vents.

In addition, you should make your house less attractive to creatures.

  1. Use a lockable trash bin or weigh down the lids of garbage cans to keep them closed firmly.
  2. Keep any non-perishable bulk groceries or pet food in sealed containers in your garage to prevent pests from getting to it.
  3. Do not leave food out for stray animals and routinely clean up the dirt surrounding your bird feeders.
  4. Contact your no-kill shelter in your vicinity.

Assess the damage that the animal digging holes around your foundation might have done. Of course, we include here the crawl space.

animal digging holes around foundation
There was here an animal digging holes around the foundation. In this case, it is a rat burrow.

Using Castor Oil Against An Animal Digging Holes Around Foundation

When a homeowner sees excavations and tunneling in the yard, the first thing they look for is burrowing critters.

A wide variety of tiny rodents and rodent-like creatures burrow into the earth. Some animals, like moles, build elaborate underground tunnels, while others, like rats, prefer to hide in burrows.

Utilization Of Dawn Dish Soap Inside The Holes Around The Foundation

Also, what is the best way to get rid of animals that dig burrows in my yard? A bottle of Dawn dish soap, castor oil, and water is all that is needed to make this product. Spray the places wherein mole and other crawling creatures have taken hold through the construction of a burrow.

You may not succeed in their elimination after a first attempt. Thus, keep using this therapy until they are gone, week after week.

Utilization Of Tracking Powder To Get Rid Of Animals That Dig Holes Around Your Foundation

I went with a tracking powder, which is a fine powder that sticks to the hair and paws of rodents. The creature then ingests the deadly dosage while it is grooming itself.

Non-target animals, such as dogs and cats, should be kept away from locations where tracking powders are applied or where poisoned bugs may be found. To avoid non-your pets from accessing the powder, I placed it directly into the burrows, through the holes, and then covered it as well. 

 It is a lost cause if the tracking powder becomes stuck to the animal. Voles, moles, and shrews may be digging about the house, but they will not be digging around for much longer thanks to this tracking powder.

Symptoms That Identify When An Animal Is Digging Holes Around The Foundation

An animal burrowing beneath the foundation of your house can do some damage to the surrounding area. A typical symptom is the presence of displaced soil or landscaping, as well as rodent sighting in the vicinity.

Take a careful stroll around the perimeter of your property to see if there are any typical signs that animals are burrowing under your foundation.

To assist you in narrowing down your list of likely suspects, here are some more indicators of animal behavior to check for:

animal digging holes around foundation
After a short walk around the foundation, I found some digging. I am almost sure that it is a rodent.

You will see rat droppings or shredded nesting material if you have invaders in your foundation premises.

You may also inspect from the outside of the home in the case that you have a crawlspace that is not accessible to you often.

If you do this in the autumn, when animals are preparing for the winter, you will be on the right path and in the right timeframe. A preventive approach altogether is always the best course of action.

Take a walk around your property and look for evidence of burrowing or unsettled patches of soil. It is possible that clumps of grass will be ripped out of the ground.

There is a good chance that if you dip a little when you tread on the grass, you have a tunneling critter in your backyard.

Inspecting the foundation for cracks and gaps is a good idea as well. Water seepage and insect and rodent access points are provided by these openings.

Any digging or tearing up of your lawn or porch, as well as a strong smell, indicate a skunk has taken up residence there. Skunks live underground, where they eat grubs and other insects.

Squirrels or raccoons are most likely making nesting sounds in your crawl space if you hear them. At night, raccoons and squirrels are most active. It is common for young raccoons to sound like puppies, and they are known for their vocalizations.

There is a good possibility that a woodchuck, has made your foundation his home if you find deep subterranean tunnels in your lawn and garden and observe flowers are being devoured. 

Chipmunks and moles may be identified by their smaller burrows and the disappearance of flower bulbs.

A typical groundhog unearths 650 pounds of material for one den.  They may well have several dens in your foundation.

Groundhog destruction might not have been restricted to the backyard. Slab-foundation homes are particularly vulnerable to groundhogs’ tunneling.

Given the pace at which it digs and the quantity of earth it can remove, the groundhog may cause great damage to the bottom of a home by loosening the underlying soil on which the building is constructed.

How To Keep Animals From Digging Under House

We can prevent any rodent, any animal from digging holes around foundation areas as soon as we have a sign or a symptom of their attempts. Let´s see what we can do to prevent the problem, or to catch it when it is only starting and is not severe.

Filling The Holes Detected

The first step in keeping animals out is to install a barrier like this. Any holes surrounding the perimeter of the foundation must be filled with more soil and pressed through tamping, so this soil gains density. 

In the absence of successful capture and removal of the rogue animal, it is possible to patch up the holes in the yard. This is just a short-term solution until you erect an exclusion fencing or address the issues that first attracted these animals towards the property.

Animals appreciate easily accessible sources of food, therefore some may be attracted to gardening premises and landscapes while others may be seeking the bugs and larvae that like dwelling in green vegetation.

Pet food or waste that has not been properly shut up at night attracts wild animals. These are straightforward improvements, and ones that may make a major difference in how frequently we must proceed to the removal of these unwanted species.

The holes near the home, though, might pose a distinct difficulty. Every house is unique, but animals digging holes around the foundation is not acceptable.

Burrowing creatures like woodchucks and armadillos may not seem like a threat to your house, but if their tunnel systems become sufficiently large, your foundation could be in danger. It is also possible that a wild animal living under your deck or shed is nibbling on support piers such as helical piers buried in the soil.

Treating The Area Around The Foundation With Chemical Products

Wild animals avoid regions where chemical goods with odd or unpleasant scents are sold. Do some study into these goods to discover whether they will fix your issue. Homeowners with a pet might desire to abstain from this approach, since they may impact them as well, and not only the hostile ones.

Removal Of Shrubs And Elements That Can Obscure The Presence Of Holes And Burrows Near The Foundation.

However, you should consider trimming down the shrubs that cover the region where your foundation meets the dirt rather than removing all of your yard’s foliage.

This keeps animals from eluding your attention and makes it easier to identify potential issue areas.

Reinforcement Of The Structures

After the area has been cleansed of animals, adding cement, patio bricks, or trench screening can assist guarantee that nothing else digs into it again.

Landscape design for the prevention of any animal digging holes around the foundation can look visually well too, and may avert repair expenditures if done in a timely way.

Eliminate Sources Of Food

Just as we did in this article, about animals that burrow inside concrete structures, we will again address the importance of eliminating sources of food near the foundation, as a method to keep animals outside it.

Most animals seek refuge near or in a house because there is an accessible resource for nutrients: the backyard itself, or waste in garbage cans.

No matter how sweet or vulnerable these creatures appear when they are peering from underneath your porch, you definitely must not nourish them.

  • Fence in your lawn to keep out unwanted visitors. Using a chicken wire fence is a good option. In order to protect the garden, it must have a wall at least three feet high and be buried a foot in the earth.
  • Garbage cans that have tight-sealing lids should be used. Use bricks or other heavy things to weigh the covers down if necessary to prevent animals from getting underneath.
  • You should use a feeder with a seed collector plate, and you should sweep up seeds and hulls often.
  • Do not store pet food outside. Pets should not be fed on the deck or in the garage. When you have given your pet enough time to finish eating, bring the bowl inside. Overnight, do not leave food out.

Disadvantage Of Using Poison

Poison-eating animals are most likely to perish in one of their tunnels if they ingest enough poison.

If you do not get rid of the corpse, the stench of rotting will linger for a long time in your house. This task is quite difficult if such a creature has dug into the foundation or beneath a deck.

You never know how much poison will be ingested by an animal before it dies, either.

If this happens, the creature, especially larger rodents, will recover and will be not prone to become a victim of poison bait again.

Removing Corpses Of Animals

Every now and again, an animal would meet its demise deep inside its burrow. This might generate an unpleasant odor to permeate your home. It might take weeks to get rid of the smell of a skunk that has died in your house.

There is a need to employ a service to remove dead animals from beneath buildings.

The space may be made animal-proof by burying screening installed by a service provider after the original animals have been removed.

Installing an L-shaped screen at the bottom of the trench with the foot pointing outward is done by excavating the troublesome region and putting the screen in place. The screen is then fixed to the framework just in the upper part of the screen. Backfill and level the trench at this point.

When it comes to the materials, you can usually count on a heavy-gauge galvanized wire mesh to be just fine. As a result, the screen will last for many years without rusting or decaying.

Regarding the materials utilized, normally it can be a good quality, heavy-gauge, galvanized wire mesh. The screen will resist rusting or degradation, thus providing many years of protection.

How Should I Stop Animals From Digging Holes Around The Foundation

Pests may crawl through a galvanized fence or quarter-inch-mesh hardware cloth, so bury the lowest edge at least six inches below the surface to keep them out. To prevent animals from squeezing through small areas, use a metal mesh fence behind an ornamental lattice.

What Animals Can Be Found Digging Holes Around A Foundation?

So what animals dig holes under the foundation? The type of animal digging holes around the foundation is usually rodents, mostly in autumn as they prepare for the upcoming winter. They are moles, raccoons, voles, opossums, the house mouse, skunks, roof rats, groundhogs, Norway rats, foxes, gophers, rabbits, armadillos, chipmunks, prairie dogs, and coyotes.

animal digging holes around foundation
animal digging holes around foundation

Moles Are One The Most Important Type Of Animal Digging Holes Around The Foundation

Moles are insectivores that tunnel through the ground searching for earthworms and insects such as centipedes, primarily during fall and early spring.

Moles do not eat plants, although they may damage plants by tunneling under them. Feeding tunnels are just beneath the soil surface, but these 6- to 8-inch-long, gray or dark brown mammals dig extensive, deep tunnel systems in which to live and reproduce.

The telltale sign of moles is a series of conical dirt mounds. Tamp down the dirt hills and tunnel ridges to see whether the mole reopens them. This demonstrates where the active runs are located. Usually, only one or two moles are active in any given area.


Voles, also called field mice, are small rodents about 5 inches long that look like mice, but with shorter tails. They eat the roots of grasses, perennials, shrubs, and trees.

They also eat seeds and bulbs and will girdle the bark of trees. They multiply rapidly and colonize an area with networks of surface tunnels.

Clues to vole activity include clean-edged, golf-ball-size holes around the base of plants. Their tunnel entrances are left open, not plugged, so you will find pathways leading to small, tidy, round holes.


Gophers are herbivores, eating the roots of trees, shrubs, and perennials. They also consume flower bulbs.

They are known for pulling plants under the ground and into their burrows. Unlike moles, they do not have webbed feet for “swimming” through the soil, but they dig similar-looking tunnels.

The location of the damage is key to their identification. Gopher mounds and tunnels are made around the plants they are eating, rather than scattered across a wide area like mole tunnels.

Gophers come to the surface of the soil at an angle, creating crescent-shaped dirt mounds. They plug the center of the mound with fresh soil after each foray out to feed, rather than leaving it open.


Rats are attracted by what they can find to eat in your garden, such as fallen fruit, nuts, and birdseed. Some rats, particularly the Norway rat, dig burrows in the ground in which to live and escape from predators.

They line the burrows with shredded paper or other fibrous material, so if you notice gnawed materials outdoors, rats may be the culprits.

Rat burrows may have an escape tunnel that surfaces in another part of the yard. Common places for burrows are in or under compost piles or under garbage cans.

Other Suspects

Numerous animals dig holes and make tunnels. You may be seeing the work of chipmunks, squirrels, skunks, raccoons, or shrews. Snakes also live in ground holes.

Using an online wildlife key that leads you through descriptions of the damage is another way to discover which animal is making holes in your yard.

Chipmunk holes, for example, are dime-sized, and you’ll see chipmunks around during the day. Skunks dig their holes under sheds, porches, and other dark places.


An animal digging holes around the foundation is an issue mostly because of health problems that they can bring to the dwellers inside the living quarters. Less frequently, it can be also a problem for the foundation itself.

Invaders just need to dig a couple of feet to get access to crawl spaces, making them particularly vulnerable. Additionally, if you have an exterior crawl space access without a tight-fitting door, you run the risk of attracting stray cats, raccoons, and even skunks to your home.

Follow mainly our advice regarding the introduction of liquid soap and castor oil inside the holes that the animal was digging around the foundation. In a second phase, try the tracking powder that I recommend here.

Photo of author

BY M. Kogan

Hello, I am Marcio. I am an architect and designer, alma mater is Mackenzie. Retired in theory, but an architect never retires completely. Along with architectural projects, I am a filmmaker and have completed some short documentaries. Filmmaking and design are my passions. In HomeQN I write about home decoration and foundations. The goal is to teach homeowners to DYI as much as possible, and when this is not possible, enable them through knowledge, to evaluate service quotations and choose the best service technicians.

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