Abstract The underground life of the oriental mole cricket Gryllotalpa orientalis has been investigated by studying the structure of its burrows under different environmental situations and in different seasons. The different uses of different burrow types and their advantages and disadvantages have been examined. The total length, number of tunnels and combination of burrow types varied from a simple tunnel to a more complex one with branches at various angles to the surface, burrow types being divided roughly into shallow horizontal or deep vertical ones. In horizontal burrows, the branching structure was well developed in various directions. It is notable that the vertical burrows of G. orientalis were occupied by only one individual. Both vertical and horizontal burrows were used for foraging: vertical burrows for plants with subterranean stems and horizontal burrows for creeping plants. Vertical burrows were also used for hiding from predators, resting, moulting and overwintering, whereas horizontal burrows were used for escaping from predators and as mating routes. Egg chambers were constructed beside horizontal burrows, and calling burrows were constructed as part of horizontal burrows. Based on their current requirements, mole crickets continuously modify their burrow structures or change burrowing sites.