Page last updated at 14:57 GMT, Tuesday, 20 October 2009 15:57 UK

Hoglets born in hotel reception

The hedgehog surrounded by her young
The hedgehog gave birth to three hoglets in Prestonfield Hotel's reception

The owner of an Edinburgh five-star hotel has told of his "surprise" after a hedgehog walked in and gave birth to three tiny babies at reception.

A Prestonfield Hotel porter found the mother and her hoglets nesting behind a curtain and basket logs in the entrance hall and called the Scottish SPCA.

The family was rescued from the "unusual place" to the Scottish SPCA's Middlebank Wildlife Centre in Fife.

They are now to be released into the wild after seven weeks of care.

Colin Seddon, of Middlebank Wildlife Centre, said: "This was a very unusual place for the hedgehog to choose to have her babies.

"She was obviously confused and knowing that she was about to give birth, decided to find the nearest warm and sheltered place, which just happened to be a very plush hotel.

Prestonfield Hotel reception
The hedgehog gave birth to her brood behind a curtain in the reception

"We were worried when she came in because it is not uncommon for a mother hedgehog to eat her young if she is disturbed or feels threatened, so we were obviously very keen to avoid that happening.

"Initially, we kept the family warm and dry and provided them with food and water, but we left them in almost complete isolation to minimise the risk of cannibalism.

"Thankfully this approach has proved successful and all three hoglets are now seven weeks old and ready to be released back to the wild with their mother."

James Thomson, Prestonfield Hotel's owner, told the BBC Scotland news website: "We were just delighted and surprised.

"The wellbeing of all our visitors to Prestonfield is of the utmost importance to us and so we are all really thrilled to hear that both mother and all three hoglets are healthy and are now ready to be released back home.

"We are just glad that they checked in for a little five-star luxury along the way."

The hedgehogs are due to be released into the wild on Thursday at a site near Dundee.



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