No animal deserves to die for doing what comes naturally to it, but it’s especially upsetting when animals are killed for something they don’t actually do. Cottontail rabbits, raccoons, opossums, and tree squirrels all get killed routinely by people worried that they will dig burrows in their lawns.
European rabbits dig burrows, so many people assume by default that cottontail rabbits (which live here in the United States) do the same. Cottontails nest in shallow depressions or sometimes the vacated burrows belonging to other species, but do not dig their own burrows.
Raccoons and opossums are both primarily tree-dwelling animals. They have delicate, cat-like nails meant for climbing trees rather than tough, dog-like nails needed to dig. Both species have sensitive hands that they may used to feel around a lawn for bugs, but they will not actually dig.
While ground squirrels like woodchucks and chipmunks can dig burrows, tree squirrels do not. The most digging that a tree squirrel will do might involve an inch or two to bury a nut or look for food in the ground. Deep, disruptive burrows always belong to some other kind of animal.
Please don’t harm your local wildlife, especially for things they don’t actually do!