Any idea what critter causes this?

Old 08-18-19, 12:47 PM
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Any idea what critter causes this?


I live in Utah; we have Kentucky Bluegrass for sod. This is a mature yard and we live close to the mountains (benches). We had a family of tree squirrels born in our rock retaining walls. I successfully caught each of them with a trap and released them into the State Forest. So I've not seen more squirrels since we caught so many-- and we do keep an eye and ear out for them....just haven't seen them in weeks.


I've noticed a cotton tail rabbit nibbling in my garden and in my neighbors yard. I thought perhaps that critter--or others with him--could be causing this issue with my grass; however, I've not seen him in the grass in this area. Also, please note have NO tunnels or trails throughout my lawn, just these odd dirt holes. See pictures. Curious of what people think it might be. Could that be the rabbit at night?

Last thing to note we've lived here for 12 years. The past 5 we had a beloved dog, Shetland Sheep Dog, who would not let any critter into the yard. He had to be put down this spring. So I'm not surprised things have begun to move back in.

So take a look at my pictures. I have these holes throughout a section of my backyard--not my front nor my neighbors, or that I can tell. It's not killing the grass, but there are like 20 or 30 of these. Any thoughts on if this is what a rabbit does to lawn or do I have another issue?

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Last edited by PJmax; 08-18-19 at 01:22 PM. Reason: resized pictures
Old 08-18-19, 01:28 PM
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I dont think its the rabbit. I'm thinking a skunk, opossum or armadillo... but I dont know if you have any of those in Utah. Those would be common where I live in Louisiana.
Old 08-18-19, 02:24 PM
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I've see only one skunk here in Utah and I know about it cause my dog chased it and got "skunked". Awful experience......they are nocturnal, right? I really have no idea how to address them--other than a new dog.
Old 08-18-19, 02:45 PM
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I agree with skunks and I have plenty of them. If skunks they are digging for grubs so one approach might be to eliminate their food source. Skunks can be trapped or so I've heard but fortunately never had one in my traps.

A trail camera might clarify what you are dealing with.

Old 08-22-19, 04:03 PM
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I'm going to be the odd guy out here and suggest "cicada killers". They are a large, beneficial wasp that is very passive. They burrow into sandy soil especially and just go underneath the turf before they straighten out and go parallel. The soil piled on one side of the hole is my clue. They are large and slow but harmless. Search the internet for "cicada killers" and see what you think.

Take a dowel rod or long, thin screwdriver to see if the burrow/tunnel goes just underneath but parallel to the top. The tunnel should go away from the pile of soil.
Old 09-01-19, 09:47 PM
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Thank you for the thought but I don't think that is it. I've never seen one of those wasps alive nor dead in Utah. Also, the holes are 2 or 3 inches in diameter.

I do believe the culprit has been discovered. Confirmed that my neighbor next door had 3 racoons in the storm drain hiding out and seen crawling back to his backyard and next to mine. I also found a dead racoon just 2 hours further south and buried it in some fields behind our houses. So racoons are in the area and on the move.


I would put down some grub killer granules but I've been reading they are not very effective this late in the summer. So I'll have to do some more research to figure out how to remove--if possible this year--the grubs the racoons are after. Worse case I wait till Spring and start the proper early program to remove grubs from under my soil.
Old 09-02-19, 05:48 AM
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