Can You Identify These Animals That Make Their Homes Underground?

By: J.P. Naomi
Image: By AlexisMartin mb, from Wikimedia Commons

About This Quiz

Are you ready to take this quiz underground?! We're going below the earth's surface to see just how well you know these underground dwellers! Think you can keep your head above ground with this one? It's time to find out! 


From aardvarks to armadillos, and prairie dogs to pupfish, underground animals are, well, all around us, or should we say, below us! You don't have to go much farther than your own backyard to take a closer look! If you see any tiny holes in the ground, you'll know there is a whole other world right below you! You see, these animals don't just burrow in one hole. No, they construct tunnels. Tunnel systems! These systems are so intricate that they even become a point of contention between various underground dwellers. Some have been known to steal the homes and hard work of others right out from under them! So we want to know... can you steal a win out of this quiz?

If you're ready for this challenge, then grab a shovel and come with us! We're heading out to the shorelines, the pastures, and desert! Yes, we said desert. Hey, you'd bury a hole underground to stay cool if you lived in the desert too, wouldn't you? Best of luck and remember, keep your eye out!

The behavior of badgers differs by family, but all shelter underground, living in burrows called setts. Some are solitary, moving from home to home, while others are known to form clans called cetes!

Most pupfish are inhabitants of fresh and brackish waters. Their diet consists mainly of algae, decaying vegetation, and any insects they can get.

Chipmunks are found mainly in North America. They make homes for themselves by creating burrows that consist of an underground tunnel system or by making nests in logs or bushes.

Did you know that the majority of the black-footed ferret's diet is made up of prairie dogs?! The ferrets live in prairie dog towns in underground tunnels.

Rabbit habitats include meadows, woods, forests, grasslands, deserts, and wetlands. They live in groups in underground burrows known as rabbit holes. Did you know that more than half the world's rabbit population resides in North America?

Aardvarks are found in sub-Saharan Africa and feed off of ants and termites. As nocturnal creatures, they spend the daylight hours in dark underground burrows to avoid the heat of the day!

North American river otters are found anywhere there is a permanent food supply and easy access to water. They can live in freshwater and coastal marine habitats, including rivers, lakes, marshes, swamps, and estuaries.

Sand dollars live beyond the mean low water line on top of or just beneath the surface of sandy or muddy areas. The spines on their underside allow it to burrow or slowly creep through the sediment.

Although they are one of the ugliest creatures... slugs play an essential role in nature, breaking down decaying matter and recycling it back into the soil. In the garden, they may eat tender young plants, bits of compost, fungi, and all sorts of rotting matter, even paper or cardboard!

The kangaroo rat is a species of rat that belongs to the group of desert rodents. Kangaroo rat lives in dry, arid and semi-arid habitats such as deserts, sandy and rocky areas.

Ants make their nests in or under cracks in the pavement. They are typically found in the eastern half of the United States, California, and Washington. Pavement ant colonies average 3,000 to 4,000 members and have several queens!

The naked mole-rat is native to the drier parts of the tropical grasslands of East Africa - mainly Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. Clusters averaging 75 to 80 individuals live together in complex systems of burrows in arid African deserts.

Meerkats live in Botswana, Namibia, Angola, and South Africa. These cat-like creatures live in underground burrows with as many as 50 other meerkats!

Clams usually live on or in sandy or muddy bottoms. Most clams have life cycles of only one year, but there is evidence of one in particular living more than 500 years!

Tarantulas are found in the rainforests and jungles of South and Central America, as well as parts of Africa and North America. Many tarantulas live in burrows underground. They will either use their fangs to dig them or else take someone else's burrow-home!

Fennec foxes dwell in underground dens in the sandy Sahara and elsewhere in North Africa. Their nocturnal habits help them deal with the heat of the desert environment!

Shrews are insectivores, feeding off of small insects, worms, centipedes, snails, and slugs. They live underground, but will travel above ground and can frequently be seen scurrying through tunnel-like runways in the grass!

Most species of pika live on rocky mountainsides in Asia and North America where there are numerous crevices for shelter. Some pikas also construct crude burrows!

Once much more widespread across Australia, the bilby now lives in a variety of habitats in arid desert regions of Western Australia, Northern Territory, and Queensland, typically where spinifex and dry grasses are found.

Gerbils live in deserts, grasslands, and on mountainsides in Africa and Asia. They live in burrows underground, which provide shelter from the hot sun and from predators. Did you know that some kinds of gerbils live alone, but others live in big groups?!

Nutria are herbivores and feed particularly on wetland plants. Did you know that nutria have caused extensive damage to the Louisiana coastal wetlands because of their diet?!

Did you know that desert tortoises can live where ground temperatures exceed 140 degrees?! This is due to their ability to dig underground burrows three to six feet deep to escape the heat of summer and the cold of winter.

Did you know that moles spend almost all of their time alone and never leave their burrows? They are very well adapted for living underground. They require less oxygen than other mammals and have poor eyesight!

Did you know that earthworms eat living organisms such as nematodes, protozoans, rotifers, bacteria, and fungi in soil? They consume this 'food' as they burrow in the soil. Think twice before flushing them out of your flower bed... they're actually protecting your plants!

A fox's den is normally a burrow underground, also known as an 'earth'. While they are solitary animals, they do have family values. During breeding season when they court and mate, the dog fox will support the female by bringing food for the family!

Did you know that cicada stay underground from 2 to 17 years depending on the species? After the long 2 to 17 years, cicadas emerge from the ground as nymphs and climb the nearest tree.

Armadillo burrows often have multiple entrances, and because of this, their burrows can be quite destructive to the area land. Armadillos come above ground to look for food.

Well-vegetated areas with dense ground cover are the ideal type of habitat for slow worms. They burrow and hibernate underground from October to March.

This unique animal resides in the dry grasslands and sandy plains of central Argentina. This sandy environment works well for the pink fairy armadillo since they are excellent diggers. Similar to a mole, they spend most of their time underground.

Groundhogs excavate tunnels and burrows underground, in which they live and raise young. The tunnel may have up to five entrances and 50 feet of total tunnel distance. They create a den to live in, and to hibernate in! Groundhog's Day anyone?

The coypu resembles a very large rat, or a beaver with a small tail. They are often mistaken for a muskrat, and live between 3-6 years old.

Hamsters are nocturnal animals that dig burrows to live, breed and store food in. Living underground keeps wild hamsters cool in hot climates!

Woodchucks tend to prefer open farmland and wooded, brushy areas adjacent to open land. Their burrows are often located in fields along fence rows, stone walls, roadsides, and building foundations.

Jerboas are hopping desert rodents found throughout Northern Africa and Asia, as far as China and Manchuria. They tend to live in hot deserts where they live underground to escape the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter.

Sea cucumbers are ocean dwellers, though some inhabit the shallows and others live in the deep ocean. They live on or near the ocean floor, oftentimes partially buried beneath it!

Most species of mongoose are found in Africa, but some also live in southern Asia and the Iberian Peninsula. They live in burrows made of a complex system of tunnels or in trees in many different types of landscapes, including deserts and tropical forests!

Bats need different roosting conditions at different times of the year, and they will often move around to find a roost that meets their needs. Some bats prefer hollow trees and some like caves!

Camel spiders are burrowing animals that live underground. They spend their time under rocks and holes in dry habitats such as the savannah, steppes and deserts.

Did you know that male rabbits are called bucks and females are called does? What's a cony you ask? Well, some use it as a term for an adult rabbit!

Prairie dogs are herbivorous burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America. The five species are: black-tailed, white-tailed, Gunnison's, Utah, and Mexican!

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