Australian Family Finds Koala in Christmas Tree — and Rescue Hotline Thought It Was a 'Prank Call'
The rescue team said the koala was "desperate to get in the Christmas spirit" and "wanted to be the fairy on the Christmas tree"
This Christmas tree stowaway provided a surprising thrill for one Australian family!
The McCormick family recounted the moment they noticed a koala hanging onto their artificial tree to The Guardian, with daughter Taylah, 16, saying the confused animal was "pretty tangled up in the lights" at first.
"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," she told the outlet about stumbling upon the critter, whom she affectionately named Daphne, inside their living room.
Her mom Amanda recalled thinking it was a joke at first — "I thought one of my kids may have put like a soft toy in there, but no, it was a live one," she said — and the animal rescue center they contacted initially thought the scenario seemed far-fetched as well.
"This evening our hotline operator took a call. At first she thought she was the victim of a prank call," Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday. "But no, a koala desperate to get in the Christmas spirit had wandered into Amanda McCormick’s house and decided it wanted to be the fairy on the Christmas tree."
"Amanda was not so sure and rang 1300KOALAZ for help," the nonprofit continued. "Thanks Amanda for the great pictures and making sure this little koala got its wish, even if it was just for a short while."
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Taylah's mom went on to tell The Guardian that while they've seen koalas in trees on their property before, they've never found one "inside on our Christmas tree." She guessed the wild animal "must have crawled in when the doors were open, it would have been in our house for at least three hours."
The teen went on to post a video of the koala chilling on the Christmas tree on her TikTok page, captioning the clip, "gotta love coming home and finding a koala in your christmas tree.. wtf #australia #koala."
She also shared footage of the rescue team releasing Daphne to a nearby tree outside, capturing the moment the koala climbed up to rest on a branch.
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"All the comments have been like, 'There’s no way this is real,' " Taylah told The Guardian. "And the ones that do realize it’s real, they’re like, ‘Oh, next we’re going to be riding a kangaroo to school,’ and ‘This is a true Aussie Christmas.' "
Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue co-founder Dee Hearne-Hellon explained to the outlet what might have inspired the koala to hop on the holiday decoration: "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!"