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Animal lover cared for hat bobble all night thinking it was a sick baby hedgehog

A worried animal lover burst into an animal rescue centre with an eerily still baby hedgehog she had desperately scooped up to safety from the side of the road.

Concerned it “hadn’t moved or pooped all night” despite being given cat food, she anxiously waited for the vet to come back into the lobby to deliver some painful news: “It’s not a hedgehog - it is a hat bobble.”

The caring stranger had brought the fluffy accessory to Lower Moss Wood Nature Reserve and Wildlife Hospital, in Cheshire, first thing on Thursday after looking after it for several hours.

The vet on shift Janet Kotze told The Independent: “She was an older lady, maybe sixties or seventies, well-spoken and well-meaning.

“She said she could see something on the roadside that looked like a hedgehog.

“From a distance you take it at face value. She didn’t handle it at all - she scooped it in a box with some cat food and left it alone in a warm, dark place. She did everything so well. She barely peeked at it because she didn’t want to stress it out.”

The caring stranger had brought the fluffy accessory to Lower Moss Wood Nature Reserve and Wildlife Hospital (Kennedy News & Media)
The caring stranger had brought the fluffy accessory to Lower Moss Wood Nature Reserve and Wildlife Hospital (Kennedy News & Media)

Dr Kotze said she knew it wasn’t a hedgehog when she opened the box.

“It was pretty obvious to us but I can also see how she was mistaken,” the vet added. “I went back out and explained, ‘I’m sorry it’s just a bobble.’

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“She said: ‘You’re joking! Oh my goodness, how did I do that?’

“She was so concentrated on doing the right thing. She was concerned it hadn’t moved or even pooed. That would be spooky if it had.”

The 57-year-old added she has “never seen like it in my five years here”.

Hedgehogs are among more than 40% of UK species which are in decline in recent years because of pesticide use and a loss of habitat (Stock image/PA)
Hedgehogs are among more than 40% of UK species which are in decline in recent years because of pesticide use and a loss of habitat (Stock image/PA)

She said: “One time someone brought in a doll that a crow got stuck in. That was strange, but then again every day here is different.

“People normally do admissions forms but we never got to that stage. She just grabbed the box and left. She had a heart of gold and followed all the advice to a tee.”

Staff wrote in a post on Facebook: “Our hearts melted as a kind soul thought she was rescuing a baby hedgehog, only to discover it was a fluffy pom-pom from a bobble hat. This adorable ‘hoglet’ still got all the love, complete with some cosy TLC.

“Remember, kindness knows no bounds, even when it’s to a faux furry friend. Please remember, if you spot a hedgehog out during the day, it’s a sign something is not right.

“Pop them in a box with a warm source and seek help from your local vets. Let’s keep our prickly friends safe!”

The charity, which offers educational trips for schools and other groups, looks after about 2,000 injured animals every year.