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KNUTSFORD, England – A concerned animal lover found herself a bit embarrassed after rescuing what she believed to be an injured creature found on the roadside.

The good Samaritan, who was never formally identified, promptly called the Lower Moss Wood Educational Nature Reserve & Wildlife Hospital in Knutsford, England, after finding a small creature resembling a baby hedgehog on the sidewalk.

“I advised her to keep it warm and quiet overnight in a box and bring it to us in the morning,” hospital manager Janet Kotze told FOX Weather.

Kotze said the kind-hearted woman lined the box with newspaper and even placed a small dish of wet cat food beside it to entice what she thought was a sick animal. The next morning, she rushed the shoebox to Kotze, who took it to her triage room.

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Initially, Kotze said she expressed concern about hoggets in the wild at this time of year.

“When I opened the box, I immediately realized it was not, in fact, a hedgehog,” Kotze recalled of the lifeless critter. 

Was it possible that the fluffy creature was of a different species?

“I tapped the side of the box, and it was clearly not any kind of animal, but a bobble from a bobble hat,” Kotze said with a light-hearted laugh as she lifted the object, which lacked any discernible weight.

Kotze said she returned the box to the reception desk and told the woman who brought it in what she had discovered.

“She said, ‘You’re joking!’” Kotze laughed. “I thought it was adorable. I told her she did exactly the right thing by bringing it in, keeping it warm and providing appropriate food, in spite of the fact that it was not, in fact, a hedgehog.”

Kotze said that the woman, who appeared to be in her late 60s, seemed to handle the news gracefully and with humor, although she was undoubtedly red-faced. The woman called it a story to share over dinner and promptly left with the box.

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“She was very sweet, bless her,” Kotze said. “Her heart was in the right place … I don’t think she’ll make the same mistake again, I think she’ll check next time.”

If you happen to come across a hedgehog during the day, Kotze advises taking it to a rescue center, as it may be a sign of distress.

“It’s a golden rule that hedgehogs shouldn’t be out in the daytime, especially little ones like that, but she did absolutely the right thing – aside from the fact that it wasn’t a hedgehog,” she added. “Mostly if they’re found out in the daytime in the open, there’s definitely something wrong, and they should be taken to rescue.”

The Lower Moss Wood Educational Nature Reserve & Wildlife Hospital receives more than 2,000 wildlife casualties annually, ranging from injured foxes or badgers to orphaned hedgehogs or fledgling birds.

Their goal is to provide treatment and care for every animal or bird brought to them to release them back into the wild.

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