Wild Animals/Burrowing Animal

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Question
Burrowing Animal
Burrowing Animal  

Burrowing Animal
Burrowing Animal  
Over the last three months an animal has burrowed just under the surface of my lawn for a distance of about 8 feet. I have tried filling in the burrow but after a few weeks the animal comes back. At the end of the burrow in the middle of the lawn the hole goes down vertically about 18-20 inches. Can you tell me what animal is doing this?
I have attached some photos that give a good idea of the problem as well as hole size etc.

Answer
Dear Rob

Thank you for your question and the two photographs, which were very helpful. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites and books I used.

Steve Harris has produced a useful guide to identify animal burrows at http://www.discoverwildlife.com/british-wildlife/how-identify-animal-holes. The photos suggest that the burrow was made by a brown rat. The diameter of the hole matches the average 6-9 cm of a rat hole and there is a roughly fan-shaped mass of freshly dug soil outside the hole and a well-trodden runway.
'Animals Tracks, Trails & Signs' by R.W. Brown, M.J. Lawrence and J. Pope has similar information abour rat holes and burrows, but also says that the tunnels are up to 50 cm deep (about 18 inches), which also agrees with the measurements you have given to me.

It may be a good idea to contact your local council if you are concerned about possibly having rats in your garden.

All the best

Jonathan  

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Jonathan Wright

Expertise

I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.

Experience

I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

Organizations
WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Publications
Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

Education/Credentials
BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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