...Hence the literal English of the passage is : "It was evening, and the smooth active badgers were scratching and boring holes in the hill-side; all unhappy were the parots; and the grave turtles squeaked out."

There were probably sundials on the top of the hill, and the "borogoves" were afraid that their nests would be undermined. The hill was probably full of the nests of "raths," which ran out, squeaking with fear, upon hearing the "toves" scratching outside. This is an obscure, but yet deeply-affecting, relic of ancient poetry.

Carroll's explanation, printed in 1855, cited by The Annotated Alice