The Animal Crossing: New Horizons shovel isn't as quickly accessible as you might expect. The digging tool has been a staple in the game series for years now, but you're going to have to work a little to add it to your arsenal. It's strange that it's not part of your toolset right at the start of the game because you use it for a range of activities like digging for fossils and planting trees. But, despite its usefulness, you have to do quite a few things before anyone even thinks of giving you a shovel. You'll get given a fishing rod and net straight away, but you're going to have to work for the shovel, among other tools.
How to get the shovel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
You're going to want to do all of the below as quickly as the game will physically let you, in order to ensure you get your shovel ASAP.
1. Give five bugs or fish to Tom Nook at Residents' Services
After your first sleep on the island, one of the things Tom Nook will offer is a DIY Workshop, which is your first step towards unlocking your full crafting potential. Head over to the Residents' Services, complete the workshop, and then you'll be able to craft your very own flimsy net and flimsy fishing rod. Tom Nook will then casually mention that he'd "love to see anything you catch. I'm quite curious about the local fauna". Don't dismiss this as gentle curiosity, as if you quickly provide him with five specimens of either the bug or fish persuasion - or a mix of both if you so wish.
When you've handed over five fish or bugs, he'll get a call from Blathers - the long-running director of all Animal Crossing museums. Now, it turns out, he wants to open a brand new museum on your very island.
2. Reserve a space for Blathers' tent
Like with your own tent, and those of your first islanders, Tom Nook will provide you with a tent kit for Blathers. You'll need to head out into the world and find a space that you'd like for him - and eventually where the museum will sit.
3. Wait until the next calendar day
As is the way with Animal Crossing titles, you can't rush anything. So in order for Blathers to arrive, you'll have to wait until the next real-world day.
4. Pay a visit to Blathers in his tent
When Blathers arrives head over to his tent. He'll be inside, ready and waiting to talk to you. Turns out he needs your help to gather enough exhibits to open a proper museum on the island – and that includes fossils. Thankfully he recognises that you can't currently dig up any fossils without a shovel, so he gives you the recipe for one along with the recipe for the new Animal Crossing: New Horizons vaulting pole so you can finally cross the river.
All that's left to do is head over to Residents' Services and craft them both. You'll need five pieces of hardwood in order to craft the shovel, and five pieces of softwood for the vaulting pole. If you don't already have enough of either, go around your island and hit some trees with your flimsy axe.
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