By Helen Le Caplain
This is the moment two ‘hangry’ hedgehogs waged war over some grub – with the tiny terrors charging, kicking and biting in a bid to be crowned top hog.
The fascinating encounter was captured on film as part of Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s hedgehog project, which aims to make Ipswich the most hedgehog-friendly town in the UK.
The trail camera footage shows the prickly pair in an Ipswich back garden late at night sparring near a food station, with one apparently charging the other successfully away from the bowl.
His opponent eventually gains surer footing, stubbornly holds his ground and then fights back, flipping his rival on his side.
The film tantalisingly ends with the fallen hedgehog back on his tiny feet to stake one last claim, but by the time the time-lapse footage began again the pair had mysteriously vanished.
Suffolk Wildlife Trust hedgehog officer Ali North, 26, said: “What happens is quite unexpected – they’re really going for it and are being quite aggressive and pushing against each other.
“Hedgehogs can be feisty when they need to be – hedgehogs don’t hold territories but will defend resources when they need to.
“It’s hard to say what they’re fighting over – the clip is from July which is peak mating season but they’re also in front of a feeding station so they’re either fighting over food or mating opportunities.
“It’s a real cliff hanger of a clip because our trail cameras only take 30-second clips, but by the time the camera came back on they’d disappeared so they must have moved on.”
The Suffolk Wildlife Trust hedgehog project is a two-year project funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
As hedgehogs are declining in the UK the aim of the scheme is to create a network of hedgehog-friendly streets across Ipswich, with Hedgehog Highways linking gardens across whole streets.
Ali said: “Putting food out can really help hedgehogs but we advise against leaving bread and milk out as hedgehogs are lactose intolerant.
“They will enjoy the milk but not for long and the bread has no nutritional value.”