What dug a big hole by my oak tree

I have a Quercus michauxii (Swamp Chestnut Oak) sapling in my front yard. Today, there was a hole dug next to it about 4 X 4 X 6" deep. The inside edge was less than 6" from the trunk. It wasn’t a tunnel, as it didn’t continue on beyond.

A. Is this likely to hurt the tree?
B. I was surprised that I saw really no large roots at all - just some small feeder roots, and one 1/4" thick root about 2" down. Is it unusual that an oak of 1.5" caliper and 10’ tall wouldn’t have any visible roots in this situation?
3. What did this?

I did cover the hole back up.

My guess would be a skunk or an armadillo depending on where you are located.


Yes, sounds like something digging for grubs.

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From the personal experience of having my dog dig much larger holes multiple times (still does it) at the base of both mature and newly planted trees I can tell you with good certainty that it will not hurt the tree at all. Or at least not enough to have any noticeable impact besides the annoyance of dirt and mulch being scattered everywhere.