Q:

Why do squirrels dig holes in lawns?

A:

Ground squirrels dig holes in lawns to construct burrows where they can live and store their food. The holes are around 3 inches in diameter and about 20-feet long. Ground squirrels use these burrows for nesting and for hibernation when it gets cold in the winter.

Ground squirrels prefer grassy areas such as lawns, cemeteries, parks, golf courses and pastures where the ground has loamy or well-drained, sandy soil. They also choose wide-open places where they can easily detect and escape from their predators. Squirrels are herbivorous animals, and they feed on flowers, fruits and vegetables found in gardens and parks. They also feed on root crops, newly planted seeds and sprouting plants, and they can do extensive damage to pastures with agricultural crops.

In the United States, they are most abundant in California and Indiana where they cause damage to residential areas due to their burrowing and gnawing. Their burrowing weakens the ground, causing the grassy area to erode easily over time. Ground squirrels tend to live alone, but they live close to other ground squirrels, preferring places with easy access to food that make good, secure habitats. They defend their burrows from other ground squirrels and other burrowing animals. It is common for other ground squirrels to occupy a vacant burrow.

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