Why Do Rabbits Dig Shallow Holes?

Is your rabbit digging shallow holes?

Rabbits are popular for digging holes in the ground. For their safety and protection from predators, they dig holes in the ground called warrens that form sizable colonies for them to occupy.

This behavior is not exclusive to wild rabbits only. Rabbits that are kept as pets also possess instincts to dig shallow holes and they do so when their surroundings permit them.

In this article, we would tell you the reasons why rabbits dig shallow holes. 

Rabbits dig holes for the following reasons:

  • Shelter
  • Temperature Regulation
  • Storage Of Food
  • Nesting
  • Marking Of Territory

Reasons Why Rabbits Dig Shallow Holes

Rabbits are popular for digging shallow holes. However, this is not without a reason. The reasons all point back to the rabbits’ instinct to survive in the wild. That is why domesticated rabbits also tend to dig shallow holes.

Rabbits dug shallow holes or burrows for various reasons including:


Rabbits dig shallow holes to provide shelter for themselves. This shelter will serve as protection from the harsh elements of the weather and predators. The shelter is a basic reason why rabbits dig shallow holes.

Rabbits are small and fragile creatures that also make for vulnerable prey to predators like foxes, coyotes, hawks, etc.

To protect themselves from these predators, rabbits dig up shallow burrows that will serve as a safe and secure hiding place from lurking predators.

Temperature Regulation

Like all mammals, rabbits are required to maintain a constant body temperature that is crucial to their survival. This will prove difficult for the rabbits in harsh environments because they are small creatures and are easily susceptible to changes in weather.

So, they dug shallow burrows which are important and help them to devise a way to regulate their body temperature and remain comfortable in their environment irrespective of the weather condition.

Shallow holes provide rabbits with a way to regulate their temperature. In hot weather, the rabbits can retreat to their holes to stay cool.

The soil in the burrow will be cooling than the surrounding temperature and this will help to prevent overheating in the rabbit.

In cold weather, the burrows also provide shelter and warmth by trapping body heat to keep the rabbit warm. It also protects it from winds and heavy rainfall that make cause it to lose body heat.

Storage Of Food

Rabbits could also dig shallow holes or burrows to preserve food. Rabbits will dig shallow holes to store food for periods when food will become scarce.

This behavior in rabbits is called caching and it allows the rabbit to have access to food during times when food may become hard to find.

As herbivores, rabbits eat a host of plant materials and may collect more food than they can consume at a go.

So, they dig shallow burrows to store the excess of those foods to eat during seasons of food scarcity like winter.


Raising young ones is one of the very important reasons why rabbits dig shallow burrows. Female rabbits, known as does, dig shallow burrows that serve as shelters to protect their young ones called kits.

These shallow burrows provide a safe and warm environment where their young ones can thrive before venturing out into the wild to fend for themselves. 

Rabbits reproduce at a quick rate and have a large litter. So, they would need enough space to raise their young.

Shallow burrows serve as efficient means of creating a secure nesting place for young rabbits. So, does will dig shallow burrows in the soil and cover them with fur and grass to create a nest for their kits.

Marking Of Territory

This is another reason why rabbits dug shallow graves. Rabbits are social animals and they use marking of territory to establish and defend their space.

Rabbits have various ways of marking their territories and one such way is through the digging of shallow holes.

This helps them to establish their territory and reduce the risk of conflict to maintain a stable social order within the group.

Do Domesticated Rabbits Dig Shallow Holes?

All rabbits including both wild rabbits and domesticated rabbits dug shallow holes. All rabbits possess an innate instinct to dig with the exception of cotton-tail rabbits.

Other rabbits dig. Wild rabbits dug for various reasons while domesticated rabbits do so because it is in their instinct to dig.

Once their surroundings permit them, they may begin to dig shallow burrows.

Owners of pet rabbits are advised to devise means to enable their rabbits to embrace the habit of digging as it is healthy for them so long as it is not excessive.

How To Stop Rabbits From Digging Holes In Lawns?

Rabbits are natural diggers, and it can be challenging to prevent them from digging holes in your lawn. However, there are several strategies you can try to minimize the damage:

  1. Use physical barriers: One way to prevent rabbits from digging in your lawn is to install physical barriers, such as chicken wire or mesh fencing, around the perimeter of your lawn. This can help to deter rabbits from entering your lawn and digging holes.
  2. Create a designated digging area: Providing a designated area for your rabbit to dig can help to redirect their digging instincts away from your lawn. You can create a digging box or use a sandbox filled with soil or other materials that your rabbit enjoys digging in.
  3. Apply repellents: There are various repellents available that can help to deter rabbits from digging into your lawn. These may include natural products like garlic, cayenne pepper, vinegar, or commercial repellents that are specifically designed for rabbits.
  4. Provide distractions: Rabbits may be less likely to dig in your lawn if they have plenty of other activities and distractions. Providing plenty of toys, hiding places, and enrichment activities can help to keep your rabbit occupied and less inclined to dig.
  5. Use landscaping techniques: You can also try using landscaping techniques to discourage rabbits from digging in your lawn, such as planting prickly or thorny plants around the perimeter of your lawn or using raised garden beds to create barriers.

It’s important to remember that rabbits are natural diggers, and it may not be possible to completely eliminate their digging behavior.

Why Does My Rabbit Scratch The Bottom Of Her Cage?

Scratching the bottom of the cage is a common behavior for rabbits, and it can have a few different meanings including:

  • Nesting
  • Boredom
  • Marking territory
  • Discomfort, etc


Rabbits are animals that are well known for digging shallow holes.

It is the most natural behavior that rabbits indulge in. So, if you notice your pet rabbit digging, it is best to encourage the behavior.

We hope this article helped you know why your rabbits may like digging, be it shallow holes, lawns, or even blankets.

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