Australian family finds koala hiding in Christmas tree

Rescue officials first thought it was a bear-y funny prank

Hey, that’s not an ornament.

A family in Australia was recently shocked to find an intruder hiding in their Christmas tree — a young koala.

When the McCormick family returned to their home in Coromandel Valley, Adelaide, on Wednesday night, they immediately sensed that something was amiss, The Guardian reports.

“I think the dog went straight to the Christmas tree and was sniffing around and Mum thought that was a bit weird,” said Taylah McCormick, 16. “There [were] baubles all over the floor … and she looked up and there was a koala in the tree.”

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To their surprise, there was indeed a small marsupial nestled among the branches of the faux fir.

“It was pretty tangled up in the lights,” the teen recalled. “It was a fake tree and very old but she still tried eating the leaves off it … I saw her munch down on some but she stopped when she realized it was plastic.”

Mom Amanda McCormick initially thought it was a prank played out by her kids.  

“I thought ‘Is this a joke?'" she said. "I thought one of my kids may have put like a soft toy in there, but no, it was a live one."

According to Amanda, the wild animal likely wandered in while the doors of their home were open, and “would have been in our house for at least three hours”’ while they were out.

The crew called the Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue for assistance, but even the hotline operator suspected it was a bear-y funny joke.

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After some convincing, a rescue team was dispatched to detangle the wild animal from the festive fir. Officials determined it was a healthy female around 3 or 4 years old, which Taylah affectionately named Daphne.

Sharing photos of the intruder in a now-viral Facebook post, the group teased that the creature was "desperate to get in the Christmas spirit.” Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue co-founder Dee Hearne-Hellon backed up the claim, explaining why the marsupial was likely drawn to the bright sight.

“It’s not actually that hot, so they wouldn’t be seeking shade, particularly at the moment … They are curious, and they are in the suburbs, and if they see something that they want to have a look at they’ll just drop in and have a look,” Hearne-Hellon told the Guardian.

@mcqueen1004

Reply to @3mbrace we had to let daphne go 😔 ##australia ##koala

♬ original sound - McQueen

Soon after, officials released Daphne back into the wild near the McCormick home, as seen in a quick clip that Taylah posted to TikTok. Now, the family plans to keep an eye out for their very own Christmas crook.

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In other wild headlines, the tiny owl that stowed away in New York City's Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was also recently set free.

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