This animal (for the sake of argument let's assume it was a bear) knew what was down there and actually did us a favour with its digging. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the hole is about 9 or 10 inches wide and a foot deep. At first glance it's just a hole, and rather a tidy one at that. In another location it would look like a hole dug for a new plant. But look more closely and you can see what the bear was digging for.
This was a nest of yellowjacket wasps. (Did you know that bears do like to eat wasps? They are a good source of protein!) We regularly have to get rid of paper wasp nests, but at least those are easy to spot as they're usually hanging from the eaves of the house or the roof of the kids' climbing structure. This was hidden between the side of the house and the hatchway to the basement and could have been there for ages without us spotting it. Incubating large quantities of vicious stinging insects! I know they're supposed to be beneficial because they eat other insects, but they are also extremely annoying. Had the bear not started digging to get at the grubs, it would have taken us much longer to discover the nest and spray it. Here's hoping the bear had a feast, and also that it decides not to return. I'd hate for it to be poisoned by eating the grubs and wasps that have now been sprayed. If it comes back through the yard anytime soon, I hope it will decide the compost bin (which is much further away from the house!) is a more promising place to snack!
Of course, the hole could have been dug by a skunk as they also like a tasty wasp and grub meal, and I know we have skunks living close by.
Meanwhile, at the front of the house we have some of these "Great Black Wasps" or "Katydid Killers" (about an inch and a half to two inches long!) flying around. Supposedly fairly harmless, but they sure don't look it!
(This photo from Bev Wigney's wonderful collection of nature-related photos.)
Then there are all the biting things that make my son look like he has hives when he's simply covered in bug bites, and the fruit flies that have invaded the house, and I saw a couple of Indian meal moths today . . . I think I will be happy when it's winter again! At least then the only animals we have to deal with are the mice in the attic!