How to identify squirrel holes in yard, garden, and property

squirrel holes in yard
Squirrel holes are generally about 2 inches in diameter. The holes often do not have piles of soil surrounding them as mole holes do. Ground squirrels live in underground burrows, which is the place they retreat to for shelter and warmth. They create small holes to create entrances to their burrow.

Holes in your yard signify squirrel infestation since large squirrel populations live in deep, complex burrows. If there are squirrel holes in your yard, squirrels have claimed your yard as their own.

Squirrels can ruin your landscape by digging holes. Flower beds can be destroyed by squirrels digging to eat flower bulbs.

Why do squirrels make holes?

Ground squirrels live in colonies that vary from two to twenty squirrels. They create tunnels in their burrow to make room for all the squirrels, baby squirrels, and space to store food. Their burrows can stretch to be fifteen to twenty feet long.

Although tree squirrels do not make burrows, they dig holes to bury food. Tree squirrels cache, which means hide food. They scatter hoard in preparation for winter.

Scatter hoarding is burying food in different places. This process reduces the chances of all their food getting stolen by another animal.

In the winter, squirrels remember where they buried their food. That way they can quickly get a meal without having to scavenge for food in the harsh, cold conditions.

To deter other squirrels or other critters from stealing their food, squirrels pretend to bury food. They will dig a hole and leave it empty to trick thieving animals.  

ground squirrel 10
Ground Squirrel

How to identify a squirrel hole in your yard?

You are likely to see more than one squirrel hole in your yard since ground squirrel burrows have more than one entry point. The holes that tree squirrels make are only about one to two inches deep and are covered with soil.

These holes will be easier to identify when the food they once held has been taken. This is because squirrels usually will not cover the hole back up after taking the food.

Tree squirrels cover holes to hide their food. So, if the hole does not have any food, there is no reason for them to cover it back up.

two squirrels in a squirrel hole

How do you fix squirrel holes?

Despite the small size of squirrels, their holes can cause structural damage to building foundations, patios, driveways, sidewalks, and more. Because of this risk, homeowners often seek a solution to the squirrel holes on their property.

Covering the holes with dirt is ineffective because the squirrels will dig through the soil again. Squirrels have sensitive noses, so scents they dislike can be used as deterrents.

Below is a list of other humane and non-toxic ways to address squirrel holes:


Apply homemade or store-bought pepper spray to holes. Spray essential oils with strong scents such as peppermint in squirrel holes. You can put dryer sheets or mothballs in the holes. 

Castor Oil

Castor oil deters squirrels and other critters. Mix one-fourth of a cup of castor oil with two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid. Add this mixture to a gallon of water to create a spray.

Animal Waste

Put animal waste in or around squirrel holes. If you keep pets like a dog or cat, you can use their droppings to trick squirrels with the smell of a predator. 


Another option to fix your squirrel problem is to trap squirrels in a live trap and relocate them. You can do this by yourself or contact a pest control company. 


Covering squirrel holes with cement or rocks is a method that some homeowners try. However, this method risks killing squirrels as squirrels or baby squirrels may get stuck in the blocked-off burrow.

This method is also ineffective because the squirrels will just dig in another spot in your yard. Covering holes with items doesn’t deter or get rid of squirrels. 

ground squirrel 3

How do you stop squirrels from digging?

To stop squirrels from digging, you need to prevent them from coming to your yard in the first place. Eliminating food sources will make your yard less appealing to squirrels.

They will learn to keep returning to your yard if you intentionally feed squirrels. Unintentional feeding may include bird feeders, vegetables in your garden, and trash cans.

Keep your bird feeders in an open space where squirrels cannot easily access them. You can lay wire mesh on your garden soil to prevent squirrel digging.

Another option is to spread predator urine around your garden to scare away squirrels. Ensure your trash cans are tightly secured so squirrels cannot get into them.

If you see squirrel holes in your garden or worry about squirrels digging in it, you can sprinkle spices that squirrels dislike to repel them. The scents of cayenne pepper, pepper flakes, and garlic pepper can be used as effective squirrel repellents.


Whitney is a graduate of Georgetown College and a current graduate student at the University of the Cumberlands. She resides in the beautiful state of Kentucky, which she has always appreciated and endeavors to maintain the land's well-being. A lover of animals and the earth, Whitney strives to communicate accurate information that will help readers learn new information, ideas, and become informed stewards of the natural world.

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