A burrow is a hole or tunnel dug into the ground by an animal to create a space suitable for habitation, temporary refuge, or as a byproduct of locomotion. Burrows provide a form of shelter against predation and exposure to the elements, so the burrowing way of life is quite popular among the animals. Burrows are also commonly preserved in the fossil record as a type of trace fossil.

A wide variety of animals construct or use burrows in many different types of substrate. Mammals are perhaps most well-known for burrowing, especially Insectivora like the voracious mole, and rodents like the prolific gopher and groundhog. The rabbit, a member of the family Lagomorpha, is a well-known burrower. There are estimations that a single groundhog burrow occupies a full cubic meter, displacing 320 kilograms of dirt. Even Carnivora like the meerkat and Marsupials like the kangaroo mouse are burrowers.

Other examples of burrowing animals include a number of fish, amphibians, reptiles (including small dinosaurscite journal |last=Varricchio |first=David J. |coauthors=Martin, Anthony J.; and Katsura, Yoshihiro |year=2007 |title=First trace and body fossil evidence of a burrowing, denning dinosaur |journal=Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences |volume=274 |pages=1361–1368 |doi=10.1098/rspb.2006.0443 |url=http://journals.royalsociety.org/content/uj1k12wh01587821/fulltext.pdf |accessdate=2007-03-22 ] ), and birds, as well as numerous invertebrates including insects, spiders, sea urchins, clams and worms.

Burrows can be constructed into a wide variety of substrates. Kangaroo mice construct burrows in fine sand. Termites construct burrows in wood. Some sea urchins and clams can burrow into rock. Burrows can also range in complexity from a simple tube a few centimeters long to a complex network of interconnecting tunnels and chambers hundreds or thousands of meters in total length, such as a well-developed rabbit warren.


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  • burrow — [bʉr′ō] n. [ME burgh (see BOROUGH), infl. by bergh, hill, berwen, to defend, take refuge] 1. a hole or tunnel dug in the ground by an animal 2. any similar passage or hole for shelter, refuge, etc. vi. 1. to make a burrow; dig (in, into, under,… …   English World dictionary

  • Burrow — ist der Name folgender Personen: Jamie Burrow (* 1977), englischer Straßenradrennfahrer Trigant Burrow (1875–1950), US amerikanischer Psychoanalytikerin Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit d …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Burrow — Bur row, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Burrowed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Burrowing}.] 1. To excavate a hole to lodge in, as in the earth; to lodge in a hole excavated in the earth, as conies or rabbits. [1913 Webster] 2. To lodge, or take refuge, in any deep or …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • burrow — [n] hole dug by animal couch, den, hovel, lair, retreat, shelter, tunnel; concept 517 burrow [v] dig a hole delve, excavate, hollow out, scoop out, tunnel, undermine; concept 178 Ant. cover, fill …   New thesaurus

  • burrow — ► NOUN ▪ a hole or tunnel dug by a small animal as a dwelling. ► VERB 1) make a burrow. 2) hide underneath or delve into something. DERIVATIVES burrower noun. ORIGIN variant of BOROUGH(Cf. ↑ …   English terms dictionary

  • Burrow — Bur row, n. [See 1st {Borough}.] 1. An incorporated town. See 1st {Borough}. [1913 Webster] 2. A shelter; esp. a hole in the ground made by certain animals, as rabbits, for shelter and habitation. [1913 Webster] 3. (Mining) A heap or heaps of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • burrow — index delve, hunt, research Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • burrow — rabbit hole, fox hole, etc., c.1300, borewe, from O.E. burgh stronghold, fortress (see BOROUGH (Cf. borough)); influenced by bergh hill, and berwen to defend, take refuge. The verb is first attested 1610s. Related: Burrowed; borrowing …   Etymology dictionary

  • Burrow — This interesting surname is of Anglo Saxon origin, and is either a topographical or locational name. As a topographical name Burrow derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century beorg , Old High German berg , a hill, mountain, or the Olde English …   Surnames reference

  • burrow — bur|row1 [ˈbʌrəu US ˈbə:rou] v 1.) [I always + adverb/preposition, T] to make a hole or passage in the ground = ↑dig down burrow into/under/through etc ▪ Mother turtles burrow into the sand to lay their eggs. 2.) [I,T always + adverb/preposition] …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • burrow — I UK [ˈbʌrəʊ] / US [ˈbʌroʊ] verb [intransitive] Word forms burrow : present tense I/you/we/they burrow he/she/it burrows present participle burrowing past tense burrowed past participle burrowed 1) a) to make a hole or tunnel in the ground burrow …   English dictionary

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