The mystery hole

Whilst looking out on my garden this morning, marvelling at how full and green (as well as sodden) it looks,

Boxing Day 2015

I noticed something unusual near the patio. I’m not sure it was there yesterday, although perhaps I just missed it.


I think it’s it burrow of some description as the hole becomes a tunnel underground. That said, where is the soil that has been removed and who can have done it?

Hopefully, it’s not rats…. Probably not, as the entrance is only about 3cm wide. Which suggests wood mice. But why do it now and not before – something to do with the weather, because their fields are flooded? 
And will I get to meet the new neighbours?

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
This entry was posted in Gardening, Wildlife and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to The mystery hole

  1. patsquared2 says:

    Now that’s weird. If it were closer to a foundation, I might think mouse, rat, snake. But there? Whatever it is, you probably outweigh it…so no worries. Hope you see what made the hole! I lived for about 3 months with what I thought was a squirrel in my house. One night I saw him. Not a squirrel but a very, very well-fed rat! Screaming and squeaking ensued and the rat took off. I barred his entrance and he never came back but what a night that was! Good luck.

    • Helen says:

      Thank you! I agree, it is a strange place. If it were a bigger hole it could conceivably be a water vole but even so it is an odd position.

      Anyway, I’m glad you got rid of your rat with a good shriek 🙂

      • drofmit4108 says:

        Not a water-vole… the hole is far too small…
        and, whilst it is wet, and looking at the videos of Morrisons in Kirkstall, very, very wet…
        water-voles like to live near running water…
        but I do think you might have voles… Bank Voles are the most likely.
        Short-tailed Field voles are less likely…
        Field/Wood Mice are even less likely.
        But all could be possible…
        especially given the weather the UK has been having recently…
        but if it is none of those…
        you’ve got “Critters”!

        • Helen says:

          Fortunately, it’s not been unduly bad where we are, so I was surprised when I heard on the news last night about 3 feet of water in Leeds city centre. Then today I’ve heard that Kirkstall Road near the Abbey is closed.

          Anyway, I hope it is voles rather than rats.

  2. Kalamain says:

    It *could* be a rat even with such a small hole.

    I would suggest digging around the hole and filling it back in. I would be more worries that you had water running wherever that hole goes. You may also want to look around the garden for rat tracks. (Worn down paths by the side of the fence or wherever.)

    • Helen says:

      Thanks for your advice, Kal. I’ve had a look and fortunately the hole leads away from the house….

      Less fortunately, I think it is rats. They appear to have set up home in the compost heap, which is where they’ve been depositing the soil from the tunnel. Now I know why the compost seemed to be ‘finished’ and coming out of the hatch in the bin.

      So, I’ve got to decide what to do about them!

      • Kalamain says:

        Well… One thing you could do is to move the bin? Simply pick up the bin (leaving the pile where it is) and then put it down 2ft to the right and then dig (And turn over) the compost that was in the bin into the now empty bin. OR… If it is done and ready to use… Get it out onto the ground now and dig it in to your beds. This will effectively remove the reason they are there.
        With luck it will encourage them to leave but won’t actually hurt them (And no need for poison)
        But you will really want to collapse that tunnel. Just digging around it should be enough.

        This is one of those difficult times. You REALLY don’t want rats but the alternative means either hard graft or poison. B-(

        • Helen says:

          I think I will go for the repositioning option – across the other side of the garden. I’ve never had rats in the compost before – last year some slept in the Wendy house, which they could well still be doing. That is going soon, anyway, and so hopefully with the bin moving as well the rats will take themselves elsewhere.

          Thanks once again for your suggestions 🙂

  3. If it was a bit later in the year I might have said magpies – they made holes all round my pond last year but they were digging up moss for nesting material – that looks suspiciously more rodent like. Hope you find it!

  4. New neighbours! I wonder what did this? A large worm .. 😉 hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas

  5. Good luck! I would be worried what I would find if I were you. We have mice every year, but rats are far scarier. Let us know what happens

  6. We have a prolific population of tree rats in our neighborhood. We make sure that the house is sealed well so that they can’t get in, but on occasion one of our cats brings in a live one and lets it loose in the house.

    I don’t have the heart to kill anything, so we’ve figured out creative ways to usher them back out of the house.

    The problem with poison which is also inhumane, is that a poisoned rat is often captured by an owl or falcon who in turn is poisoned when eaten by the bird. I think prevention is your best bet. It sounds like you are already on it.

    • Helen says:

      Rats got into my neighbour’s house and ran through the roof space into our loft (we are terraced houses) but I don’t know how they got into next door. I think these rats must have been poisoned because my neighbour got some people out to put poison down.

      Anyway, I’m amazed your cat brings you a live rat – must love you very much 🙂

      • I’m not sure what a terraced house is. Does this mean you share wall’s and one roof? It might be what they call townhouses or condominiums here. My sister lives in one but without the benefit of a front and back garden like you have.

        Oh yes, those cats are quite pleased with themselves when they bring in live rats….and lizards in the summer. Rats are smart and difficult to catch once they’ve set up shop in a cozy spot. I read that a mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime and a rat through a hole the size of a quarter, probably similar to your pound coin.

  7. Thank you for your update thank you for sharing and hope you sort your hole out could be hedgehog or small rabbit hope your having a wonderful Holiday

  8. Kalamain says:

    Looks like its endemic to our area… I just found a rat in my compost bin too. *sigh*
    I swear it wasn’t there yesterday!

  9. gaiainaction says:

    A mystery hole Helen, I wonder too what or who made it. It does look like a fairly small hole, and there is no debris or droppings around it. Could it just be a sinkhole, a little one at that? It also looks a little like a hole I got in the garden but that was in soft enough soil, and I think that was an hedgehog. Otherwise a rat maybe….please let us know when you find out.

  10. Marcella Rousseau says:

    It could be rabbits! I had a similar hole and a family (that’s right, family) of rabbits lived in it until I accidentally went over the hole with the lawnmower and it scattered them in every direction scaring me half to death! I never knew that rabbits could live in your lawn! Here is a link to help you identify the hole:

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.