Hedgehogs are cute little creatures that scurry about in gardens scrambling for food. For anyone looking to set up a beautiful lawn, however, seeing a hedgehog may mean frustration and agony over the anticipation that the hedgehog may ruin their garden. But why has this become an issue for gardeners? Generally, it is because many gardeners have assumed that hedgehogs are the main culprits behind holes in their lawns. While they are known to be creatures that enjoy hiding and hunting down holes for dens, do hedgehogs dig holes in lawns?

Hedgehog in Lawn
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Do Hedgehogs Dig Holes in Lawns?

Well, the answer is no. Despite it being an instinct for hedgehogs to hide in secluded areas as much as possible, they do not often dig holes in lawns. Instead, hedgehogs will often seek out areas like bushes, compost piles and hidden spaces beneath your homes to get comfortable. Therefore, if you are seeing holes appearing in your garden, it may not always be the work of a hedgehog.

How to Tell if There is a Hedgehog in My Garden?

As hedgehogs are often shy, it is easy to mistake them as the culprits behind the holes in your garden. But now that you know hedgehogs don’t regularly dig holes around your lawn, how will you tell if a hedgehog is living rent-free in your garden? Well, here are some of the top tell-tale signs that you may have a visitor in your garden.

Hedgehog on my Lawn
Hedgehog on my Lawn

Hedgehog Footprints

If you have soft ground in your garden, it is possible that you will see some hedgehog footprints left behind. Because hedgehogs can weigh up to 1kg, it is easy for them to leave their tracks for you to spot.

Do note, that this may not be the case if your ground is hard as hedgehogs do not typically step hard.

Hedgehog Poo

Like many garden creatures, hedgehogs are prone to leaving their poo on your lawn. Hedgehog droppings – like most animals’ poo, it is often dark brown or black and come in cylindrical shapes. They are often filled with most of the foods that hedgehogs feed on, including insects like beetles and berry pips. While they are not going to smell like a bunch of roses, hedgehog poo does not particularly smell as bad as other animal droppings.

If you are seeing piles of hedgehog poo around your lawn, however, you can be sure that they are secretly living around your garden.

Hedgehog Noises

You may be surprised by this, but hedgehogs can be quite noisy. This has led to many homeowners complaining about noisy hedgehog sounds at night, as they are usually more active after dusk. Setting up a monitoring camera behind your lawn is also a great way to see if the sounds are indeed from a hedgehog or a different predator. Be sure to always check in with your neighbours to see if they are comfortable with the idea, as you do not want them to feel like you are spying on them illegally.

Ruined Plants

No thanks to their considerably large bodies, hedgehogs may often ruin the plants around your garden. This is especially the case when hedgehogs are seeking out secluded areas to rest, as they can be shy animals. Thus, the next time you notice that your plants have been damaged or destroyed, you may want to look around your lawn to see if you spot a hedgehog or two.

Hedgehog Curled Up on a Fern
Hedgehog Curled Up on a Fern

How Can I Stop Pests from Digging Holes in my Garden?

Now that you know your garden has not been ruined by hedgehogs, you may be wondering what other pests can cause such extensive lawn damage. Below, you will find several possible culprits behind the holes in your garden and some tips on how you can stop it from happening.


If you notice food being hidden in the holes, it may be the work of a squirrel. Squirrels typically dig holes to store their excess food, and while they often prefer to keep them in trees, there is always a possibility that they may dig holes in your lawn too. To help keep squirrels at bay, you may consider covering your lawn with smells that are unpleasant to squirrels. Natural things that squirrels dislike include scents like peppermint, black pepper, and garlic.

You should also diligently clear your lawn of fallen nuts or acorns, so the squirrels do not associate your garden with their feeding ground. Should you notice the hidden food in the holes, you may also move it away to deter the squirrels from coming back.


Birds like magpies and crows may also be the cause behind the holes in your lawn. This is because they have the habit of storing food in holes, much like a squirrel. Birds are also more prone to dig holes in your lawn to look for worms and slugs to feed on, thus making them a possible culprit. While it could be annoying, having the birds feed on worms and slugs may be beneficial to your plants. In many ways, you may find the birds as natural pest controllers for your garden. If you would like to keep birds at bay, you may consider tying old and unused CDs around your garden.

The reflective nature of your old CDs will scare the birds away, making it a cheap and quick way to stop them from digging holes in your lawn.


As you can see, hedgehogs are not always to blame when you are wondering what is digging holes in your lawn. While it is nice to know you are not alone in questioning if hedgehogs are the main culprit, it is probably even better to now feel at ease if you see a hedgehog on your lawn. Having a hedgehog in your garden may even bring you some benefits, including being a natural pest control from insects that chew on your plants. By the end of the day, you will never know if this unwanted guest could be your new pet and companion for life. There could be other culprits that are digging the holes and you can find out who they are and how to stop them here. 

British Hedgehogs Infographic
British Hedgehogs Infographic

Garden Doctor Tips

“Use an electronic animal scarer that emits a high-pitched noise to keep animals out of your garden!”

“Introduce some nematodes to your garden to keep the number of pests in the soil down which animals will love to come and eat!”

“As hedgehogs are unlikely to be the culprit, set up a camera to see who is doing damage to your lawn!”

Frequently Asked Questions

Do hedgehogs attack humans?

Hedgehogs are far more afraid of humans than humans are of them. When a hedgehog sees you, it will usually scurry away or curl up into a protective ball!

Do hedgehogs live in holes?

Hedgehogs will not dig holes to live in. Hedgehogs will nest somewhere quiet, secluded and out of the way. They will often find abandoned rabbit holes or log piles to live in. They will also nest under sheds and bushes where they will be safe from predators.

Do hedgehogs dig?

Hedgehogs are not accomplished diggers. They may move loose soil to hunt for grubs but they will not dig holes to live in.

Do hedgehogs Burrow?

Hedgehogs in the UK do not burrow, instead, they are likely to seek out abandoned rabbit holes to nest in.

Do hedgehogs live underground?

No, hedgehogs do not live underground. They live in underbrush, grasslands, and woodlands, often sheltering in burrows, grass nests, or under debris.


Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.

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