What's tunneling my back lawn and digging in front yard at night

Asked September 24, 2019, 2:05 PM EDT

We've had moles, voles, and chipmunks in the past. However, we now some nocturnal critter creating massive tunnels (ground eruptions )throughout our backyard. However, these tunnels are like none that I have experienced in my 25 years living in Severna Park, MD. Also....our front yard, which is all ground cover has something digging aggressively where the ground cover meets the sidewalk. I woke up one morning to see the entire stretch of sidewalk dug with holes that spanned approx 30 feet. What am I dealing with and how do I make my yard unappealing to whatever this may be?

Anne Arundel County Maryland wildlife extensive tunneling in beds probable moles

4 Responses

The tunneling of moles can vary a great deal depending upon how deeply they tunnel--and soil moisture.

Pull away the soil from some of the tunneling to expose the width or diameter of the tunnels. This will help you get a better idea of what you are dealing with.

Rats will also tunnel, particular along structures. Another option, if you're seeing digging and not tunneling, is skunks.

Search 'rats', 'moles' and 'skunks' on our website search for information about all of these.

Ellen

I have never seen a skunk,nor smelled one since I've lived here. Also, I have never seen a rat ....only in photos. I just spent a few hours with a flat shovel to lift up the erupted soil and there is not a tunnel to be found. In fact, I couldn't manage to pack down the mounds of dirt back into the ground and now have a rather large, heavy bucket of dirt. It has been incredibly dry for weeks. I have bags of Grub-X to spread if it ever decides to rain. Could moles be possibly be this destructive?. Like I said earlier, I've had moles in the past and they just left spongy areas throughout the yard, but never major eruptions. However, In my digging this morning, there was not a single grub to be found, which I know is what moles enjoy eating. Yes, I have been remiss in applying Grub-X for the past several years. I have watched so many You Tube videos and looked at so many photos online and still can't figure out what I'm dealing with. I did have trouble with some chipmunks in the early summer, but their holes were distinctive and they have now been relocated. My neighbor had to pay a trapper this summer to rid her backyard of some raccoons that had taken up residence in an abandoned home next to her gorgeous home. Talked to her this morning & she has not seen a raccoon since the trapper captured three. Here is an additional photo that I did not include yesterday. This is about the only mound that had a hole at the top. This mound was next to a Maple tree, The majority of the dirt mounds are next to sidewalks and fences if that helps any, ..
Thanks for your help.

I have never seen a skunk,nor smelled one since I've lived here. Also, I have never seen a rat ....only in photos. I just spent a few hours with a flat shovel to lift up the erupted soil and there is not a tunnel to be found. In fact, I couldn't manage to pack down the mounds of dirt back into the ground and now have a rather large, heavy bucket of dirt. It has been incredibly dry for weeks. I have bags of Grub-X to spread if it ever decides to rain. Could moles be possibly be this destructive?. Like I said earlier, I've had moles in the past and they just left spongy areas throughout the yard, but never major eruptions. However, In my digging this morning, there was not a single grub to be found, which I know is what moles enjoy eating. Yes, I have been remiss in applying Grub-X for the past several years. I have watched so many You Tube videos and looked at so many photos online and still can't figure out what I'm dealing with. I did have trouble with some chipmunks in the early summer, but their holes were distinctive and they have now been relocated. My neighbor had to pay a trapper this summer to rid her backyard of some raccoons that had taken up residence in an abandoned home next to her gorgeous home. Talked to her this morning & she has not seen a raccoon since the trapper captured three. Here is an additional photo that I did not include yesterday. This is about the only mound that had a hole at the top. This mound was next to a Maple tree, The majority of the dirt mounds are next to sidewalks and fences if that helps any, ..
Thanks for your help.

It is hard to say, but this still could be moles. We are in an 8 week period of drought and they are desperate for food.

There are no easy solutions when it comes to mole control. Moles feed on a variety of soil insects like earthworms and grubs. Normally they are more a nuisance in the spring and fall when soil moisture levels are higher and prey are closer to the surface of the soil. We do not recommend using a grub control to control moles because it does not effectively reduce mole activity. Moles feed on other available food sources such as earthworms, making grub control ineffective. Grub control products should only be applied to lawns that have experienced a grub infestation, and the only way to do that is to dig a square foot area and count the grubs- only treating if you find 8-12 in a sq. foot.

Here is our page on moles: https://www.extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/moles

For more information see publication on Nuisance Wildlife for information on moles.

https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/hgic/HGIC_Pubs/wildlife/HG90%20Dealing%20with%20Nuisance%20Wildlife_2018.pdf


Just fyi: you likely do have skunks but wouldn't see them or necessarily smell them. They also feed on soil invertibrates at times. They don't tunnel but make divot mounds.

More from this list: https://www.extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/wildlife-photos



Christine