An Australian family came home to an early surprise waiting for them in, not under, their Christmas tree. The McCormicks, from Adelaide, South Australia, had an outing only to return home and find an unexpected ornament hanging on their tree: a young, wild koala.
“I think the dog went straight to the Christmas tree and was sniffing around and mum thought that was a bit weird,” the 16-year-old daughter Taylah said.
“There was baubles all over the floor … and she looked up and there was a koala in the tree. It was pretty tangled up in the lights. 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 realised it was plastic.”
Taylah’s mother, Amanda McCormick, said she was in shock from what she saw.
“I thought ‘Is this a joke?’ I thought one of my kids may have put like a soft toy in there, but no, it was a live one,” she said.
“We’ve had them in our trees before but not inside on our Christmas tree … It must have crawled in when the doors were open, it would have been in our house for at least three hours.”
The family called a local animal rescue, but had to convince them it wasn't a joke. Eventually, 1300Koalaz came to the rescue, sharing photos of the koala clinging on to the tree. They named the young koala Daphne and released her into a tree in a bushy area nearby.
"Daphne is fine. I saw her today and she was high in the tree she went up yesterday, totally oblivious to the media storm she has caused," said Dee Hearne-Hellon, co-founder of 1300Koalaz.
“We all care for the koalas at home as we prefer to use donations to care for the koalas and regenerate lost habitat.”
Just last month, a saw-whet owl was found hiding in the Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree. It had reportedly been transported 274 kilometres from upstate New York to New York City. It was released back into the wild after being nursed back to health by a rehabilitation centre.