’Tis the season ... for adorable animals perched inside Christmas trees.
A juvenile koala became an internet sensation after a South Australian family discovered her inside the house, tangled up in the branches and lights of a Christmas tree.
Taylah McCormick said she and her family returned home Wednesday to find ornaments strewn about the living room in Coromandel Valley, a suburb of Adelaide. Upon further investigation, they spotted the koala nestled in the artificial 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,” Taylah, 16, told The Guardian. She added: “I saw her munch down on some, but she stopped when she realised it was plastic.”
Taylah’s mother, Amanda McCormick, said the family had previously spotted koalas on the property but never inside the house. “It must have crawled in when the doors were open,” she said. “It would have been in our house for at least three hours.”
The McCormicks contacted the Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue, which arrived on the scene shortly. The koala was a female, between three and four years old and in good health, according to the rescue’s co-founder Dee Hearne-Hellon.
Taylah named the koala Daphne and uploaded a short video of her family’s unexpected visitor to TikTok before she was removed. As of Thursday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 730,000 times.
Watch The Guardian’s report on Daphne’s rescue below.