I’ve got about 15 in-ground trees. For every one I add manure compose, leaf mould, and pine bark mulch. Something is digging into the top dressing and I can’t figure out what it is. The critter disturbs a 4 inch circle down through the mulch. They don’t always reach native soil. There are zero tunnels so n I’m certain it’s not voles or moles. It’s not deer or else the tender new growth on the trees would be eaten. I wondered if it might be a skunk or coon or something like that but I’m not sure. The only thing I’ve ever seen on the mulch were Robins. I thought maybe they were burrowing down to find worms or something. No visable prints anywhere.
If that were my yard it would be Squirrels or Chipmunks. They bury nuts in the fall in the “easy” spots and then retrieve them in winter/spring. My mulch looks just like that but instead of one hole there might be 10.
I vote for the game cam. I have one to answer questions like that.
To me it looks like tree rats (squirrels).
Good to know what it is because if they eat fruit, it would be good to have a fruit protection plan in place.
In my yard and orchard, it is a skunk. It’s the big, fat grubs that they are going for. Fortunately, they also dig out yellowjacket nests now that they found my land to dig in. They eat the young, so they are welcome to do that!
For the last 2 nights I’ve been using my brother in laws game cam. First night I did not have any animal activity. Last night the camera took 1 pic but nothing was visible on the pic. Two of the trees had noticeable excavations in the mulch. Most of the pics were from the daytime of my daughter running around the yard.