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What’s digging up the garden?

So I’m a gardener in a large garden, and in the past few months we have had something digging up the garden. 
There are holes dug everywhere, eating tulip bulbs and digging up plants and seem to be eating roots or just digging by the base of trees and shrubs. 

The main damage is done in the longer grass in the orchard.  

We suspect we could have a badger - but others say it’s just rabbits. 

I expect rabbits could be the culprit in some areas but we are just not sure! 

I found a few footprints - although images aren’t very clear and have attached other images of damage done

Any ideas?? 


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,463
    Where are you? Are there any wild boar about?

  • NotyalcaNotyalca Posts: 134
    We are in Cumbria.   No wild boar that i know about.  There have been holes near fences dug and some wire fences in places have been lifted and somethings got under, but definitely not big enough for a boar.  
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    Badger print for comparison @Notyalca (will be easier for you then us looking at the photos):

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • NotyalcaNotyalca Posts: 134
    Hi thanks bob.  I did think the prints looked like a badger as they have the claws but the prints just aren’t clear enough to make it out properly. I’ll keep my eye out on any newly disturbed bits. 
    They have been round the fences today and blocked off any signs of entry.  Shame we can’t set up a camera trap! 

  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,601
    It certainly looks like badger damage. They often work an area, making little digs and scrapes every foot or so. They also make 'latrines' where they dig a deeper hole and poo in it regularly. A territory marker, I understand.
  • NotyalcaNotyalca Posts: 134
    Hi posy. We did find what we believed to be a latrine but it has only been used once and hasn’t been used since. Forgot to mention that in my original post. Thats the original reason we suspected a badger. But that was a little further away from the main bulk of damage. 

    Do rabbits cause similar damage?  I’m wondering if it’s both of them at work? There are holes dug all over the place in random places. But the damage around the orchard is just a little different. 

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    Might well be a combination.  Squirrels will bury nuts etc in small holes & dig up and eat bulbs, foxes are forever burying and digging-up food and chewing bulbs - presumably the ones which taste nice get swallowed!  Badgers will move heavy things like garden furniture & rocks, dig large patches of soil and break through weakened fencing etc., a much stronger creature.  Rabbits usually only dig to get into a garden and then eat their favoured plants first, usually right back to either the ground or down to woody tissue. If you get the chance to get a trailcam, you'll be amazed at what goes on when humans aren't around!  It was a surprise to me to see so many wild creatures happily sharing my garden (all of the aforementioned plus mice, rats, voles and a dozen or more bird species) but nearly always at different times of the day and night, like a carefully planned shift system, so I've rarely caught any kind of confrontation on camera (well, apart from domestic cat territorial disputes, that is!)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,601
    Bob's right. I'm not sure that I get as much pleasure from this diversity of wildlife as he does: the moles nearly broke my heart! But it is interesting,  so long as you give up any dream of perfection!
  • Looks like a Badger.

    Wild Boar is a good shout and (you'd be surprised where they squeeze through). But in my experience, they always leave a 'pig' smell (really hard to describe, some where between a pig sty and a bag of pork scratchings)
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