How To Get A Shovel In Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Unlock the shovel in AC: New Horizons early on.


Animal Crossing: New Horizons takes place on your very own deserted island, and as such, you'll have to do some hard work and heavy lifting for some of the things you want. That requires tools. While the game gives you most of the tools you need right away, the shovel is notably absent from the start. Here's how to get it.

Unlocking The Shovel

First, you're going to need a fishing rod or a net. Catch five different bugs and/or fish and give them to Tom Nook at Resident Services. He'll call up his friend Blathers the museum curator, and Blathers will show up on your island the next day. There's nothing you can do to accelerate this part, so you'll just have to wait.

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Once Blathers has set up his tent, go talk to him--he'll give you the DIY schematics for the shovel so you can dig up fossils, but there are other uses for the shovel too. (Blathers will also give you a DIY recipe for the vaulting pole, which will help you get across rivers.) Read on for more details.

How To Craft A Flimsy Shovel

  • Requires: 5x hardwood

You'll need 5x hardwood to craft the flimsy shovel, so take a flimsy axe to some trees to get wood (don't worry, it won't chop down the tree). Once you have enough, you can craft a flimsy shovel at any DIY bench. As its name suggests, the flimsy shovel will break after a few uses. You can buy a new one from Timmy and Tommy, craft another using 5x hardwood, or opt for the more durable standard shovel.

How To Craft A Shovel

  • Requires: 1x flimsy shovel, 1x iron nugget

The shovel is a more durable version of the flimsy shovel, which you can craft at any DIY workbench with just 1x flimsy shovel and 1x iron nugget.

How To Use The Shovel

To use the shovel, simply equip it from your inventory or your tool wheel, if you've unlocked it. Press A to dig a hole and press A again to fill the hole. You can also press Y to fill the hole without the shovel, which is great if your shovel breaks or you don't have one equipped.

The shovel has several purposes, which we'll outline below.

Hitting Rocks

One of the shovel's primary uses is mining for crafting resources like stone, clay, iron nuggets, and the rare gold nugget. Do this by hitting the shovel against the light gray rocks around your island or on Mystery Tour deserted islands. Keep hitting until the rock stops spawning items. If you're lucky, you might hit a money rock, which will spawn bells.

You can also use the shovel to shatter rocks, but we don't recommend doing this on your own island right away, as you will need to stock up on stone and iron early on. They take a full day to respawn and will come back in a random location. If you're on a deserted island or can afford to lose a rock for a day on your own island, you can eat a fruit to gain fruit power and then use the shovel on a rock. If you change your mind, don't forget that your fruit power will remain active until you use it up--you can see your fruit power in the corner after you eat a fruit.

Unearthing Fossils

As Blathers will explain, you can use the shovel to dig up fossils and other treasure, which you can spot by the x-shaped cracks in the ground. Right now, the Bunny Day event is live, so you'll probably be digging up tons of Earth eggs too. Check out our list of Bunny Day DIY recipes so you know what to do with them.

Digging Up Money

Sometimes you can find money in the ground, marked by a glowing beam of light. You'll get 1,000 bells if you dig it up with your shovel, but if you bury bells in the same hole, it will eventually grow a money tree. Shaking a money tree produces more bells. If you're willing to wait, find more details about how to plant a money tree and other tips in our Animal Crossing money-making guide.


You can use the shovel to dig up flowers and trees to replant elsewhere. If you want to dig up a tree, you have to eat a fruit first to get one fruit power. One fruit will let you dig up one tree--eat one fruit for each tree you plan on digging up.

To grow plants, dig a hole and bury fruit or seeds. Learn more about the ins and outs of gardening in our hybrid flowers guide.

Finding Clams

Manila clams are used to craft fish bait. You can spot them on beaches by the little water squirts in the sand. Simply dig up the area where you spotted it and you'll find a clam. Since they're so small, your aim might be off, so just keep trying.

For more info on Blathers' museum, see our museum unlock guide. You can also check our guide to your first day in Animal Crossing: New Horizons for more details on the early unlocks you should get. And if you want more guides, check out our Animal Crossing: New Horizons guide hub. Be sure to read our Animal Crossing: New Horizons review, too.

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