Animals that burrow underground will do so for warmth and protection. They will protect themselves by creating burrows that are almost inaccessible for their predators to access, but will also use their burrows to escape the cold in winter.
Burrowing animals also often have adaptations on their bodies that help them to burrow such as strong bills (like the platypus) or sharp digging claws (like the European mole).
List of Animals that Burrow Underground
|Scientific Name||Orycteropus afer|
|Size||Up to 52 inches|
This animal with a very long nose is native to parts of Africa. With its long nose, the aardvark will sniff out food, and it needs to have a good sense of smell because it often resides in deep burrows. It’s a nocturnal feeder that will primarily feed on ants and other insects in its habitat.
|Size||Up to 2 inches|
When we talk about animals that burrow underground we must not forget about the ants. These hard-working creatures often create colonies that live together in a larger burrow system. It’s often a sophisticated system meant to keep the ants alive, as they seek food when they leave the burrow.
3. Australian Funnel Web Spiders
|Size||Up to 2 inches|
The funnel-web spider is one of the most dangerous spider species in the world. Its venom is among the most potent venoms of all spiders, so it might be wise to avoid it in the future. More importantly, make sure you avoid its burrows which is where it waits for its prey.
4. Black-Tailed Prairie Dog
|Scientific Name||Cynomys ludovicianus|
|Size||Up to 17 inches|
The black-tailed prairie dog is a rodent that creates burrows into the ground. They have long black claws that are made for digging, and they’re also quite flexible, which allows them to pass through their burrows with ease.
5. Botta’s Pocket Gopher
|Scientific Name||Thomomys bottae|
|Size||Up to 11 inches|
The Botta’s pocket gopher is a very versatile animal. It can create burrows in all types of environments, as its body is adapted to different types of soils. They dig with teeth, so they can create burrows in different soils, even the tougher ones.
6. Brown Rat
|Scientific Name||Rattus norvegicus|
|Size||Up to 11 inches|
|Habitat||Forests, urban areas|
Even rats will create burrows underground. Although they might seek shelter in different areas as they are quite adaptable, they prefer to stay hidden inside a burrow. This common rodent is now spread on all continents except for Antarctica, so you might be able to find one near you, as well.
7. Burrowing Owl
|Scientific Name||Athene cunicularia|
|Size||Up to 10 inches|
Did you know that there is an owl species that creates burrows? That’s right, and it’s called the burrowing owl (for obvious reasons). These owls often use burrows of other animals to create nests. They prefer to live in open grasslands where many burrowing animals live so they can use their burrows to live.
8. Burrowing Urchin
|Scientific Name||Echinometra matthaei|
|Size||Up to 3.5 inches|
If you’ve never seen the burrowing urchin, then you might be thinking: what on Earth is this creature and how does it create burrows? It doesn’t necessarily dig holes into the ground, but it seeks deeper areas where it can reside. But it also digs itself into the ground, which can cause erosion of the coral reefs.
9. Daurian Pika
|Scientific Name||Ochotona dauurica|
|Size||Up to 7 inches|
The Daurian pika is a cute little animal that will create burrows underground, too. They often live in large communities where they will help other members of the community to survive easier.
10. Desert Tortoise
|Scientific Name||Gopherus agassizii|
|Size||Up to 16 inches|
The desert tortoise is, sadly, an endangered species. They can live to up to 80 years which is impressive, considering these animals tend to live in dry and hot climates. They are well adapted to shortages of salt and water, though. Sometimes, they will dig burrows to find some escape from the heat.
11. California Ground Squirrel
|Scientific Name||Otospermophilus beecheyi|
|Size||Up to 12 inches|
Ground squirrels will dig holes into the ground and create their burrow there. The Californian ground squirrel is one of the most common ground squirrel species to indulge in that behavior.
12. Common Wombat
|Scientific Name||Vombatus ursinus|
|Size||Up to 39 inches|
The common wombat is a marsupial that lives in many areas of Australia – particularly in the Southeastern part. There, it will create burrows into the ground, although it will spend most of its time above the ground looking for food.
13. Eastern Chipmunk
|Scientific Name||Tamias striatus|
The Eastern chipmunk is an excellent tree climber and an even better burrow digger. It will transfer soil in its mouth away from its burrow to hide all evidence of its existence to remain as hidden as possible.
14. European Badger
|Scientific Name||Meles meles|
|Size||Up to 32 inches|
The European badger will create large-scale burrows that can be up to 270 feet long. Inside these burrows, the badger will spend longer and colder days. However, during the night, the European badger will leave its burrow to hunt.
15. European Mole
|Scientific Name||Talpa Europaea|
|Size||Up to 6.3 inches|
One of the first animals that you might think about when we speak about animals that burrow underground is the mole. This animal is often seen in gardens and grasslands where it will create large burrows underground, leaving a big mound above the ground.
16. European Rabbit
|Scientific Name||Oryctolagus cuniculus|
To survive the attacks of the many predators out there, the European rabbit needs to create burrows where it will hide. While it is primarily native to Europe and European countries like Spain, France, and Portugal, it has been introduced into other habitats, which has often created imbalances.
17. Giant Pangolin
|Scientific Name||Smutsia gigantea|
|Size||Up to 4.6 feet|
The giant pangolin is the largest pangolin species in the world. All pangolins around the world are threatened – some more than others. The giant pangolin will dig burrows into the ground to hide and protect itself from potential predators.
18. Greater Bilby
|Scientific Name||Macrotis lagotis|
|Size||Up to 22 inches|
|Habitat||Grasslands, urban areas|
The greater bilby is native to Australia. Some time ago, it was only restricted to arid areas and drier habitats, but in more recent decades, this animal has become used to urban areas, too. The burrow that it creates is like a spiral that spans downwards, which enables it to stay safe from predators.
19. Least Weasel
|Scientific Name||Mustela nivalis|
|Size||Up to 14 inches|
Slender and sleek in nature, the weasel is well adapted to living in burrows. It has to be this sleek to go around the burrow system it usually creates.
20. Magellanic Penguin
|Scientific Name||Spheniscus magellanicus|
|Size||Up to 30 inches|
The Magellanic penguin is a black-and-white penguin species found in coastal areas of South America. These wonderful penguins will create burrows underground to protect themselves against predators and other animals. They will also use these burrows to lay their eggs inside.
|Scientific Name||Suricata suricatta|
|Size||Up to 14 inches|
The meerkat, sometimes also called a suricate, creates long and deep burrows into the ground to stay safe. They have powerful claws that are designed to dig deep into the ground no matter how dry it might be. They also have several adaptations on their bodies that allow them to sustain dry and hot climates.
22. Nine-Banded Armadillo
|Scientific Name||Dasypus novemcinctus|
|Size||Up to 10 inches|
The nine-banded armadillo is the most common armadillo species in the world. It is known for its thick armor that protects it, but also for its jumping ability. The armadillo can jump up to 4 feet high, which can sometimes make it a dangerous animal if it winds up on a road.
Related Article: Do Nine-Banded Armadillo Have Shells?
23. North American River Otter
|Scientific Name||Lontra Canadensis|
|Size||Up to 42 inches|
|Habitat||Forests, semi-aquatic areas, rivers|
Known for its thick fur that repels water, the river otter is well adapted to living in aquatic habitats. The otter will often create a burrow close to the water’s edge, where it feels at its safest. These den systems are meant to protect the large families of otters and keep them safe from predators.
|Scientific Name||Ornithorhynchus anatinus|
|Size||Up to 24 inches|
Native to the eastern part of Australia and New Zealand, the platypus is a legendary animal in Australian culture. It’s also an important animal for the Aborigines who used to hunt the animal for food. Recently, the platypus has become an endangered species because of the loss of habitat.
25. Red Fox
|Scientific Name||Vulpes vulpes|
|Size||Up to 20 inches|
Did you know that even foxes dig burrows to create dens? Yes, their burrows might not be as deep as those of some other animals we’ve just seen, but their burrow systems can be quite complex, too. They are important for their survival because they allow them to hide there from potential predators.
Shrews are tiny mammals that resemble mice, but they also have longer noses than mice. In that regard, they resemble a hedgehog or even a mole more closely. In any case, the main survival technique of this animal is to create burrows into the ground to survive.
|Size||Up to 4.5 inches|
There are over 1000 different subspecies of tarantulas, but most of them have one thing in common: they create burrows. They are ambushing spiders as they will wait for their prey to pass by their burrow before they strike. They also have a relatively potent venom, which is not dangerous to humans, though.
|Scientific Name||Coptotermes formosanus|
Termites can create nests underground by burrowing into tree roots and create their homes. In hot climates, termites can be a serious threat to homes. They burrow into the wood foundations of houses and undermine the house’s integrity.
29. Trapdoor Spiders
|Scientific Name||Cteniza sauvagesi|
|Size||Up to 1.5 inches|
There are many spiders that create burrows into the ground, but not many as prominently as the trapdoor spider. They will use these burrows to hide and wait for their prey, which gives the spider a headstart and an advantage over their prey.
30. Wolf Spiders
|Size||Up to 2 inches|
The wolf spider is another spider species that creates burrows into the ground. Although this spider is one of the fastest spider species in the world, it still uses ambushing as a hunting technique. They don’t spin webs, but they have excellent eyesight and they’re also agile, allowing them to be excellent hunters.
31. Yellow-Bellied Marmot
|Scientific Name||Marmota flaviventris|
|Size||Up to 27 inches|
The yellow-bellied marmot is a thick and strong marmot species that create burrows for colonies of up to 20 individuals. They also hibernate during the winter and might spend up to 8 months in hibernation.
Animals that burrow underground protect themselves by staying inside their burrows. Some burrowing animals make deeper burrows than others, but they are all good diggers and exceptional at hiding from predators. Some even use their burrows to hunt, such as some of the hunting spiders seen above.
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