Skip to content

Why Burrow?

Why Burrow?

It isn’t just wombats that dig burrows; lots of animals have this behavioural adaptation. But what’s so great about burrowing? It all comes down to temperature. Let’s conduct a soil temperature investigation.


  • Shovel or Trowel
  • A metre ruler
  • Thermometer with strong attached



Dig a hole 50cm deep.
Bury the thermometer in the hole with the string sticking out and leave it overnight.
The next day, carefully dig up the thermometer. Read the temperature quickly.
- What was the temperature down in the soil?
- What is the temperature of the air?

Bury the thermometer again and repeat the readings at the end of the day.
- By how much did the soil temperature changed?
- By how much did the air temperature change?
- Why might this benefit an animal?

(Adapted from Johnson, J (1990) Outside the Classroom: Grades 3-4, Educational Supplies Pty. Ltd. Brookvale, Australia)