A hungry hedgehog has joined four foxes for dinner and the five of them are now best friends.
The foxes have been coming to the garden of Lucy Goacher, a 27-year-old from East Worthing, every night for about two years to enjoy the food she leaves for them.
Then, about a month ago, a plucky little hedgehog marched up and started helping itself to their dinner.
Lucy managed to capture some pictures of the group’s first meeting.
“The foxes looked bemused and somewhat protective,” she said.
“It’s a sweet relationship – no hostility at all, just a few jealous looks.
“Sometimes she’ll march up to the bowls and claim them for herself while the foxes just sit and sulk on the lawn. I assume they learned the hard way not to mess with her.”
Rather than officially naming them, Lucy’s given the foxes practical, very literal names.
There’s Tappy, the vixen who will tap on their sliding door when she’s hungry; The Boy One, who can be seen dining with the hedgehog in the pictures; The Shy One, who is by definition rarely seen and The Mangy One, who Lucy insists is a picture of health.
The fearless hedgehog is simply referred to as The Hoggo.
“The four regulars come every night, even in rain and snow,” says Lucy.
“The lead vixen, Tappy, taps on our patio door to let us know she’s there and ready for her bowl. One or two are much shyer and hang back on the grass a lot, while the male will boldly come right up even if I’ve got the door open. He’s usually the one I get the best pictures of.”
The unlikely pals are now comfortable enough to eat side by side and even share the same bowl.
Along with leftovers from the Goacher household, the friends also share wet and dry dog food and are sometimes treated to links of sausages.
Early reports suggest the group are now looking for a home in the countryside where they can settle down and build a life together.
You can follow the group’s blossoming friendship through Lucy’s Instagram page, @goachwriter.