A fossorial (from Latin fossor, "digger") animal is one that is adapted to digging and life underground such as the badger, the naked mole-rat, or the mole salamanders.

Most bees and many wasps are called "fossorial Hymenoptera", and a great many rodents are considered fossorial although the physical adaptations to living underground are minimal. Nevertheless, mostly from 2000 on, for rodents the term fossorial has been used for species that live in burrows during a considerable part of the day but are surface-dwelling during other parts of the day, while for species that live all their life underground (or at least almost all the time) the term subterranean has been applied.

Some organisms are fossorial to aid in temperature regulation, while others use the underground habitat for protection from predators or food storage.[1]

An animal is said to be subfossorial if it shows limited adaptations to a fossorial lifestyle.

See also


  1. "Burrower videos, news and facts". BBC Nature. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
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