May 27, 2017

Have you seen any interesting animal interactions in your garden?

Dr Dawn Scott a mammalian biologist from University of Brighton is calling on the public for videos, images and stories of interactions they have captured between mammals in their garden. The project is named “SpringTails” (#springtails) and it is running alongside BBC Springwatch, which will feature some of the best videos and images submitted.

The overall study is to investigate the impact of human provided food on animal behaviour. Dawn and team are interested to find out if the presence of food changes the behaviour between foxes, hedgehogs, badgers, cats and dogs.

Dr Scott said: “Many people support wildlife in their gardens by providing food for them. However, we don’t yet fully understand how providing food can affect the interactions between wildlife. We have seen foxes and hedgehogs feeding from the same bowl, seemingly ignoring each other, but we have also seen a fox bite a badger’s backside to get it away from a bowl of food. I find this behaviour fascinating and really want to find out if feeding animals in back gardens is changing their behaviour to each other. Does providing food reduce competition between animals or actually increase it? Is there more aggression displayed or do animals tolerate each other more when there is food about? Whether you provide food in your garden or not, we are keen for us to share the tales from your garden.”

Share your story with the research team

The public can help us by uploading videos, photos or descriptions of what they have seen using the “share your story” link at www.brighton.ac.uk/springtailsYou will be asked to answer a few anonymous questions about if you provide food in your garden or not.

Researchers trained in behaviour analysis will look at videos/images and stories and will analyse the interaction between the animals. Findings from the research will feature in BBC Two’s Springwatch which runs from 29 May to 15 June 2017.

Videos and photos which have interesting examples of interactions will be shared using social media which can be viewed via: