Staff at a wildlife rescue centre had their 'hearts melt' after being brought a 'baby hedgehog' in a bizarre case of mistaken identity.

A well-meaning rescuer brought what they believed to be an injured animal to the Lower Moss Nature Reserve and Wildlife Hospital, based in Knutsford, Cheshire, last week.

But when hospital manager Janet Kotze opened the box, she realised the 'hedgehog' actually belonged on a woolly hat.

The rescue posted on social media a photo of the decorative ball, showing it nestled in a box beside a bowl of food.

"This adorable 'hoglet' still got all the love, complete with some cosy TLC", the charity tweeted.

"Sometimes, even the most heart-warming stories start with a hilarious twist!"

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

An amused Ms Kotze said: "It was the first admission of the day. The lady came in with a box, she said she had found this baby hedgehog on the pavement and it was cold and she picked it up.

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"I was alarmed as it's very early for baby hedgehogs"

"I opened the box and, well, I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing. I thought 'it's definitely not a hedgehog, perhaps it's some other kind of a fluffy creature'.

"I realised it wasn't animated at all and I picked it up and obviously with the weight I could feel that it wasn't a hedgehog or any animal at all.

"She was very sweet, bless her, her heart was in the right place. 

"She took the box from me and left quite quickly.

"I found it funny afterwards but I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing because to me a hedgehog is obviously a hedgehog."