“Scrapping over Scraps”: Animals clash over leftover food in urban gardens

An animal was pushed down a flight of concrete, while another was pushed into water

Researchers have analyzed hundreds of videos of wild animals in order to investigate the interaction between the species. They have found, that food leftovers in gardens can be beneficial for wild animals, drawing in competitors and predators close together. The animals in these gardens displayed aggressive behaviors such as lunging, biting, striking out.

The study was conducted by Nottingham Trent University and the University of Brighton. It shows that badgers dominated other species in the garden hierarchy. And hedgehogs seem to have more clashes with other animals. Researchers also found, that there was more aggressive behavior among animals than neutral interactions. The creatures were also more likely to confront different species from their own.

175 of 316 animal interactions ended in confrontation among species.

Professor Dawn Scott from Nottingham Trent University’s School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences said that this study is the first to “quantify interactions between urban mammal communities in this way and to identify hierarchical relationships between wild and domestic mammals in urban gardens”.

According to the studies, cats and foxes disliked each other. Over 77% of their interactions ended in aggression, and surprisingly, cats dominated foxes. However, hedgehogs very quickly outcompeted cats. The reason is, domestic cats are not used to defending themselves physically and behaviorally, and hedgehogs have a natural armor of needles and are wild predators.

In case of speed, badgers took the lead being the quickest to get the food. Also they were the least competitive among all the other animals.

Hedgehogs appeared to be the most aggressive creatures. This included a move dubbed the “barge and roll” by the researchers, whereby one hedgehog attacks another by running at it, causing the victim to roll up before being pushed away. The moves were meant to move the rivals away from the food.

In one instance an animal was pushed down a flight of concrete, while another was pushed into water. Published in the journal Animals, the study also involved researchers from the University of Sussex and the Spanish National Research Council.

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