The McCormicks opted for a silver, pink and blue theme on their Christmas tree. The old plastic leaves were worn but looked beautiful with ornaments on each branch and twinkling lights.
But this year the family tree featured a very unexpected ornament: a wild juvenile koala, and somewhat confusing.
On Wednesday, 16-year-old Taylah was the last to leave the family home in Coromandel Valley, Adelaide, around 3 p.m.
He made sure the dog was outside, closed the back doors, and turned off all the lights.
When the whole family returned around 6pm, something was strange.
“I think the dog went straight to the Christmas tree and sniffed and Mom thought it was a little weird,” Taylah said.
“There were decorations all over the floor… and she looked up and there was a koala in the tree.
“I was pretty tangled up with the lights. It was a fake tree and very old, but she still tried to eat the leaves … I saw her chewing some, but she stopped when she realized it was plastic. “
Taylah’s mother, Amanda McCormick, said she was in shock.
“I thought ‘Is this a joke?’ I thought one of my kids could have put like a stuffed toy in there, but no, it was a live one, ”he said.
“We’ve had them in our trees before, but not inside our Christmas tree … It must have come in when the doors were open, it would have been in our house for at least three hours.”
The family immediately called Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue, but co-founder Dee Hearne-Hellon said the group i didn’t believe the story First.
“The call went to our 24-hour hotlines, and of course the operator initially thought it was a prank call,” Hearne-Hellon said.
“Apparently it took me a bit to convince him, no … Amanda actually had a koala on her Christmas tree … It was so beautiful, to see him sitting there just by looking.”
The rescue team quickly arrived to untangle the koala, whom Taylah had nicknamed Daphne.
Hearne-Hellon said Daphne was a girl of about three or four years old and in good health.
The teenager took the opportunity to post a TikTok from the koala, which at the time of this writing had garnered more than 16,000 likes.
“All the comments have been like, ‘There’s no way this is real.’ And those who realize it’s real, they say, ‘Oh, now we’re going to kangaroo to school’ and ‘This is a real Australian Christmas.’
Even his friends didn’t believe him.
“They were in shock at first, they didn’t think it was real… I had to send so many different videos because it just wouldn’t move. I had to make it blink a couple of times to test it. “
Amanda McCormick has also sent out a series of Facebook notifications after posting photos of Daphne.
“I have received so many phone calls and messages that it has been ridiculous. All I wanted was a few Facebook likes, but it has gone quite viral! “
Hearne-Hellon said the koala probably only got into the house because he liked the look of his tree.
“It’s not really that hot, so they wouldn’t be looking for shade, particularly right now … They’re curious, and they’re in the suburbs, and if they see something they want to take a look at, they’ll just let you in and take a look.”
The rescue team dropped Daphne into a tree in a nearby bush area, and the McCormicks say they will be looking after her from now on.
“It was a very memorable experience,” said Amanda McCormick. “After a bad year, it was good to have that.”
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