This family in south Australia didn’t need to buy a new ornament for their Christmas tree this year. That’s because they unexpectedly got a new one – and it’s alive!
The McCormicks decided to adorn their faux fir tree with silver, pink, and blue decorations for this year. While the old plastic leaves of their Christmas tree already looked worn, they made up for it by adding colorful baubles on each branch and wrapping twinkling lights around it.
Little did they know that another piece of ornament would attach itself to their tree very soon.
16-year-old Taylah McCormick was the last to leave their family home in Coromandel Valley, Adelaide, around 3 pm on Wednesday. She made sure the lights were all switched off but left the door open so their dog can go in and out.
When her mom, Amanda McCormick, got home from work at around 6 pm, she noticed something odd. Their dog went straight for the Christmas tree once she came through the door. That’s when Amanda noticed that some of the decorations had fallen to the floor.
Also, their pup was acting very odd.
“It was interested in something further up and I looked and straight in my face was this beautiful, little gorgeous koala bear,” Amanda recalled.
She couldn’t believe it at first and thought one of her kids had put a soft toy in there as a joke. But a closer look revealed that it was, indeed, a real wild koala!
“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,” Amanda said.
Of course, koala sightings are nothing new to Australians, but what made this particular situation remarkable is that it’s the first time that one actually came into their home.
“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,” Amanda said.
The family knew better than to move the marsupial on their own, so they contacted the Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue—also known as 1300Koalaz—to report the unusual incident.
The charity’s co-founder, Dee Hearne-Hellon, said that at first, the group didn’t believe Amanda’s story. The operator who received the call even thought that it was a prank call.
But after a bit of convincing, they finally trusted her word. The rescue team went to the McCormicks’ home to retrieve the koala, which Taylah had named Daphne. Getting her off the tree was a struggle as the animal got quite comfortable in it, but she let go eventually.
And like most teenagers these days, Taylah saw this incident as a TikTok-worthy moment. She posted a video of the koala on the video-sharing platform, which has at the time of writing received over 254.3K likes.
“All the comments have been like, ‘There’s no way this is real’. 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’.” she said.
The koala was later released outside and climbed a nearby tree. Dee said the juvenile female was about three or four years old and was in good health.
As for the reason she sought refuge in a Christmas tree, Dee thinks the behavior was merely born out of curiosity.
“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,” she said.
Amanda said they will be looking out for the koala from now on.
“It was a very memorable experience,” she said. “After a bad year, it was nice to have that.”
That can also be said for people who read this story. Give your family and friends one more reason to smile today by sharing this cute koala story!