Small Holes in Lawn Overnight: Causes Plus Expert Remedies

If you’ve ever found yourself with an uneven lawn, you know how much of a pain it is. It’s not just unsightly. It’s also dangerous for your pets and kids. So, what causes small holes in lawn overnight? Small lawns appear overnight in your lawn due to moles, rats, voles, earthworms, beetles, rabbits, and squirrels. These creatures create burrow your lawn when looking for food or creating nests.

Many factors cause holes in lawns. Depending on the cause, they can be easy or difficult to remedy. But no matter what kind of hole is in your yard, there are certain steps you can take to get rid of it.

What Causes Small Round Holes in Lawn?

Small round holes appear in your lawn overnight due to burrowing rodents. Moles, gophers, rats, and voles might dig your yard when looking for food or building their nests. The number of holes will keep increasing if these rodents breed.

If you notice lots of holes in your yard overnight, here are the possible things that could be the culprits:

  • Moles
  • Earthworms
  • Rats
  • Voles
  • Beetles
  • Birds
  • Rabbits
  • Squirrels


Moles are small mammals that live in holes, except for when they come out to get some food from your garden or lawn. When they do emerge, they will eat insects and earthworms. Moles live mostly underground and rarely come out at all.

You can tell moles cause the holes in your yard if you see molehills. Mole holes are characterized by small mounds of soil surrounding them. The volcano-shaped soil mounds have a maximum height of about 24 inches.


Earthworms are a common cause of small holes in lawn overnight. Earthworms are harmless to humans and pets. They live in soil, where they eat decaying organic matter and plant roots.

In addition to eating organic matter, earthworms help break down the organic matter produced by living things such as algae and bacteria. They need this process to stay healthy, which is also important for maintaining the balance of soil nutrients.

Earthworms have holes that look like pinpricks. When they move around, they leave trails behind them called “footprints” or “casts” (also known as “worm casts“). You can see these footprints under dry leaves or after heavy rains.

When you see these footprints, an earthworm has likely been at work disturbing your lawn.


Underground rats live in colonies. Your small area of lawn may be harboring several colonies sharing the space.

These colonies can be in any corner of your yard. They could be underneath shrubs, trees, holes under buildings, or fences. And they can be anywhere from one-day old (if they’ve just come out of their nests) to several years old (if they’ve been around long enough)!

If the hole in lawn is in a hidden area, such as underneath a tree or fence, the culprit could be underground rats. Their holes are typically 3 inches in diameter and show gnawing activity.


Voles are small rodents that like to eat grass. They are common in lawns, especially in the early spring or summer, when there are more greens to eat. These animals can cause damage to yards because they can eat the grass stems and leaves, causing the grass to die.

Voles dig tunnels in the lawn they use as their homes, making them hard to get rid of. They are active at dawn or dusk, so it might be hard to spot one feeding on your grass.

Check for rodent excreta and chewed grass clippings to find out if vole damage is happening to your lawn.


Beetles are tiny insects and a huge threat to your lawn. They’re attracted to mulch, compost, and dead leaves.

You can tell if beetles are the culprit if you see lots of small holes in lawn. Beetles leave small holes in the turf, which look like tiny pocks or craters in the grass. The beetle larvae make the holes as they eventually pupate inside those little mounds of dirt.


Birds have a lot of different reasons for tearing your lawn. Some birds like earthworms and grubs, while others prefer insects, grasshoppers, and other pests in your yard.

Birds like to feed on their prey early in the morning. If you notice fresh holes and damages in your lawn in the morning, they could be the culprit. If the holes are noticeable, big birds have caused them. Small birds rarely leave any small holes in lawn overnight.


Rabbits like to live in areas with a lot of cover and vegetation (like thick underbrush). They also like burrowing into the ground to hide from predators or other animals.

The best way to tell if rabbits are causing problems for you is to see if their droppings are outside of their burrows—they’ll leave those near their den. If you find droppings near the rabbit’s den, there’s a good chance that your lawn is a source of their livelihood.


Squirrels are known for digging up gardens and causing damage to yards, but they don’t just eat plants—they also love to munch on insects, fruits, nuts, seeds, roots, and barks. They’re constantly looking for food, so if there’s no food available in the wilderness, they’ll look for it elsewhere, which may include your lawn.

By observing their nature, you can tell if the holes result from squirrel infestation. Squirrel holes have a diameter of about 2 inches and do not have soil mounds around their openings.

Remedies for Small Overnight Holes in Your Lawn

You can deter animals from digging holes in your yard in several ways. They include the following:

Get Rid of Shrubs and Trees in Your Yard

Shrubs and trees near your house can be a hiding place for animals that want to dig holes in your yard. You can trim them back so they don’t get too tall or remove them if possible.

Install Barriers Around the Perimeter of Your Yard

Use a chicken fence or electric fence to enclose your lawn. A fence will help deter the animals from digging holes in your lawn.

Make Traps

A trap is a great way to catch an animal and keep them from digging up your yard. When you set up a trap, it will contain the animal and keep it alive. You can return it to its natural habitat rather than killing it.

Use Repellents

Repellents work by causing animals to associate their presence with danger and discomfort, so they’ll leave your yard as quickly as possible. You can buy commercial repellents from garden stores, but you can also make your own using ingredients found around your house—like hot pepper, ammonia, or dawn dish soap.

Clear Insects and Pests in Your Yard

Many digging animals are attracted to your lawn to feed on insects and pests. If you eradicate them using pesticides or other methods, the problem will take care of itself. 

Final Thoughts

If you see small holes in lawn overnight, they result from digging animals and insects. You can eradicate them and repair your lawn’s damage through simple steps.

If you don’t want to put more work into preventing digging animals from ruining your lawn or garden, consider getting a weed control service for your yard instead. They’ll do all the hard work so that you don’t have to worry about whether or not animals will dig up or damage your plants.