How To Stop Raccoons Digging Up Your Lawn

If you have been wondering what has been digging holes in your garden, you might be suprised to find it is raccoons.

There are many ways of stopping raccoons from digging up your lawn. The most effective is to reduce the amount of grubs in the garden.

You may have noticed small round holes in your lawn and suspect that some animals are digging them? Raccoons are among the many animals that could be digging those holes in your yard.

If you or someone you know loves raccoons check out some of my favorite raccoon gifts on Amazon.

What Are Raccoons?

Before you make any conclusions whether it is raccoons digging up your lawn, it is best to familiarize yourself with these small animals. Raccoons, also known as the common raccoon, North American raccoon, or Northern raccoon are small mammals that are very common in North America. 

These mammals are regarded as the largest in the procyonid family. They have a small body of about 70 inches and weigh about 5-26 kgs. They have a grayish coat with dense underfur to insulate the animal against cold weather. 

They have many distinctive features, with a facial mask, ringed tail, and extremely skilful front paws. These animals are also known for their intelligence. Studies suggest that these animals can remember a solution to some tasks for up to three years. 

raccoon digging

Raccoons are also omnivorous, and they can eat up to 27% vertebrates, 40% invertebrates, and 33% plants. These mammals initially came from mixed and deciduous forests.

However, the changes in the environment over time forced them to start living in the mountainous, urban, and coastal areas. This is actually the reason why most people regard them as pests. They can cause some nuisance, especially because they eat plants and dig in the lawn for insects. 

Which Animals Dig Small Holes In My Yard?

Raccoons are adorable, but they can as well be very destructive, especially by destroying plants in your garden and digging in your lawn. The main reason why they invade your yard is in search of food, or are just considering your home as a potential habitat because of food. 

They are likely to dig in your lawn, looking for insects and plants to eat. They usually target larval insects, which is the reason why they make those small individual holes in your lawn.

One unique feature of these animals is that they only work at night. This may mean that it can be a little difficult for you to spot them digging holes in the lawn.

Other animals that are digging holes in your lawn may include skunks and squirrels. Skunks will dig holes in your lawn in search of food, while squirrels will dig your lawn to bury food.

They are all a source of nuisance, which I think is a good enough reason to start figuring out ways to stop them from digging up your lawn.

Some most common symptoms of grubs in your lawn will be drying grass, especially two to three inches in diameter and appearances of brown spots in the lawn. If you notice that these spots are increasing in size, then you should be sure those are raccoons expanding their territories. 

One main reason why your lawn is a perfect site for raccoons is that there are plenty of grubs. These are the larvae stage of a beetle that serves a rich source of proteins for raccoons and many other animals.

The grubs have brown heads and white or grey bodies. They are always an attraction to raccoons, which can end up causing a lot of damage to your lawn.

You may not care if raccoons would only eat Japanese beetles or June bugs without destroying your lawn. However, the problem will come when they start digging your lawn in search of such foods.

They are likely to destroy grass around these areas, which means you have to do something to stop the raccoons from coming around your home.

Why Do Raccoons Dig Up My Lawn?

The main reason why raccoons invade your lawn is in search of food. The main source of food is the larvae of beetles that grow in the soil. Raccoons are likely to invade your lawn and start digging to expose these protein-rich foods.

Most of the animals, including raccoons, will be looking for worms, insects, and grubs. Most people assume that they have a grub problem, especially when they see animals digging in their lawn.

This is not always the case because most of these animals will dig the lawn as they search for food, and if that is not achieved, they return to a place where they found food previously. 

Do Raccoons Rip Up Lawns?

Many animals can cause the same trouble. However, if you suspect that Raccoons are the ones responsible, you have to do something about it. Most people, especially those in North America, will always have an issue with these animals. 

If you still hold some doubts about whether its raccoons, skunks, or any other animal digging your lawn, there is a way to tell which among them is causing all the destruction.

The first way to determine the animals is to observe the type of holes in your lawn. Moles will create tunnels and mounds, but raccoons will flip over whole sections of turf.

Raccoons are looking for food, but moles are looking for food and shelter.

Skunks, on the other hand, will dig precisely and will not leave deep holes in your lawn. If you are careful enough, you will be able to determine which animal is digging your lawn.

raccoon digging
Raccoon in the wetlands looking for turtle eggs.

How To Keep Raccoons From Digging Your Lawn?

As we have already stated, raccoons can cause some serious damage to your lawn as they search for food. Now that you are sure raccoons are causing the damage, you have to do something about it. One of the best and the most effective ways of keeping raccoons from damaging your lawn is to take away the underlying cause.

You first have to understand why these animals are invading your lawn. By realising they are after the food growing inside the lawn and the soil, you can remove the cause. You can start by visiting your local garden center and seek advice on how you can deal with the grubs. Once the grubs have been removed, you also need to take other actions to make sure raccoons will not return. 

Removing other sources of food such as pet food left outside will stop raccoons coming around, and getting a raccoon-proof feeder may also help.

How Many Grubs Are Too Many?

A healthy lawn always has a certain number of grubs. A healthy lawn can host up to 5 grubs in every square foot. For example, a lawn of 5,000 square feet can be home to up to 25,000 grubs.

With those figures, it would be difficult to kill all the grubs, and honestly, they do so much good for your garden and their natural habitat that you shouldn’t. 

However, you can take some measures that will minimize the numbers significantly. Experts actually advise that killing all the grubs is very difficult even when you start using a chemical that will sit in the lawn for months. 

The best action to take to minimize the amount of bugs growing is to use a natural suppression treatment, which will eventually minimize food for raccoons. One of the best controls is the use of organic grub control. This is unlikely that it will keep raccoons away for good, so you can always try the methods below.

How To Stop Raccoons Digging Up Your Lawn?


You may lack the appropriate equipment to trap raccoons, but hiring a wildlife operator is a good step to make. Make sure they remove them and put them somewhere else humanely.

Motion-activated Sprinkler

You can consider using a motion-activated water sprinkler to act as a deterrent to scare them away. Raccoons and other animals are scared by the sudden movement and spray of the water

Organic Repellant

These can be used together with coyote urine and cayenne pepper to keep the raccoons away. They are useful, but only when combined with other methods. Always try to use organic repellants.


There are no guarantees that you will be able to stop raccoons from entering your garden completely with the use of any of the above methods. However, a combination of the above techniques will see the damage to your garden minimized, and the number of raccoons invading your property reduced significantly. 

If you or someone you know loves raccoons check out some of my favorite raccoon gifts on Amazon.

Bryan Harding

Bryan has spent his whole life around animals. While loving all animals, Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Not only does Bryan share his knowledge and experience with our readers, but he also serves as owner, editor, and publisher of North American Mammals.

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