Some animals live underground for protection while some simply prefer to. Animals living below the surface of the earth are commonly referred to as subterranean animals.
Some animal species living underground include cavies, naked mole rats, rabbits, armadillos, moles, and badgers. The most famous of these is the mole because it engages in the most digging of anything that lives underground.
There are a number of reasons why subterranean animals choose this lifestyle over others, but one reason is always the same: protection from predators and other environmental factors such as severe weather, drought, and flooding.
The burrows some animals make can reach hundreds of meters in length and can be used by many generations of animals.
For example, badgers typically live in 8- to 10-foot (2.5-3 m) deep burrows where they spend most of their time when not foraging for food. These mammals do come above ground at night but return before sunrise so they are safely underground if predators are present.
There are other animals such as the naked mole rats that never leave their burrows. These creatures eat, sleep and even give birth in their burrows. When they come above ground it is only for a short amount of time to grab a quick snack and then they hurry back below the surface.
A key attribute that makes some animals naturally good “diggers” is the type of soil in which they live. For example, moles live in the light, sandy soils where they create an elaborate system of tunnels and galleries.
In these areas, it is easier to dig than clay soil because there are more air pockets which makes the digging process easier. Cavies that live in grasslands and savannahs, on the other hand, prefer heavy soils that make tunneling hard work: they dig shallow burrows and plug the entrance during the day to keep themselves, and more importantly their food, safe from predators.
Some animals living underground also use vegetation as camouflage: rabbits will create a den under overhanging grass or bushes; armadillos can lose almost all of their body heat when they curl up in a ball with their armored shell lying flat against the earth, and naked mole rats are practically indistinguishable from rocks.
Many other animals that live underground never come up at all including blind snakes, spiders, centipedes, grubs, and worms. Perhaps the most surprising residents of these habitats are trees that have adapted to survive despite being deprived of sunlight for long periods of time.
In conclusion, many animals live underground for their safety and in turn create homes for other animals.