Nottingham Trent University has recently collaborated with the University of Brighton to study animal interactions at feeding stations in UK gardens; they found that while leaving food out for local wildlife can definitely benefit the desired population of local animals, it can also invite both interspecies and intraspecies confrontation. In fact, over half of recorded moments involving more than one animal, over half ended in some kind of standoff!
We don’t have to worry too much about our local hedgehogs, though, as they’re standing their ground extremely well. Although cats outcompeted foxes on many occasions, local kitties proved to be no match for our spikey friends – potentially because they aren’t as used to dealing with defensive spines as often as wild predators. That said, hedgehogs could be argued to be a little too defensive, as they were often observed to fight with one another.
The study aims to understand the potential risks of competition and predation at garden feeding stations so that we can mitigate these risks in the future. You can read more about the findings here.
Article by Sarah Bessie.