You’d think Baby Yoda would be the most off-putting creature to appear on Christmas trees in 2020, but the reality is much more terrifying, albeit arguably as cute.
The past year was filled with unwanted surprises, and the months of November and December were no different for a handful of homeowners whose trees attracted unwanted tenants. And no, we’re not talking about smaller critters like ants or spiders — we’re talking marsupials and birds of prey.
Take a gander at the creatures that cropped up between the branches of otherwise normal Christmas trees in 2020, and made it all the more unnerving to hang out near our own.
Perhaps a sign of things to come, a tiny owl was found to be living inside NYC’s Rockefeller Center tree by workers who unwrapped the Norway Spruce in Rockefeller Plaza. (The owl had been wrapped inside the tree in Oneonta, N.Y., when the spruce was being prepared for transport to Manhattan.) The owl, a northern saw-whet, was later named “Rockefeller” and transferred to a wildlife center in Saugerties, N.Y., before being set free.
The McCormick family of Adelaide, South Australia, returned to their home one evening in early December, only to find a koala living in their artificial tree. Amanda McCormick, the matriarch of the family, at first thought it was a plush toy placed there by her children, as a prank. But no, it was an honest-to-goodness koala that had likely wandered into the house when they opened the doors to leave home earlier that afternoon. Animal control eventually responded to detangle the koala from the tree’s lights — but only after some convincing that they, too, weren’t being pranked.
Florida resident Aubrey Iacobelli initially thought a stray cat had crawled through her doggy door and settled in her Christmas tree one morning at approximately 4 a.m. — but no, of course it was a raccoon. After enlisting her dog to help persuade the raccoon back outside, the two animals knocked over the tree instead, and the raccoon went scurrying into the dining room, where it settled in her chandelier for nearly a half-hour. After dealing with it for more than an hour, Iacobelli swatted at the raccoon with a broom until it scurried back outside. Oh, and she also caught the entire thing on video.
Louise Anderson, from Ellon, Scotland, called police after a sparrowhawk flew into her house and calmly settled on her Christmas tree. “It was there for about 40 minutes — it was a spectacular bird,” she told the BBC, adding that the sparrowhawk remained calm throughout its visit. Police and animal rescue officers soon responded to remove and release the tiny bird of prey. “After a full body search she was released without charge,” the wildlife officers joked.
A Copperhead Snake
Is Australia’s wildlife just more terrifying than most? A few weeks before Christmas, Tasmania resident Felicity Richardson found a copperhead snake under her tree, trapping it under a pot until a local reptile specialist could arrive. Before that, however, the homeowner told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that she needed to show it to her 13-year-old first. “I put [the pot] over the snake and then woke my daughter … she absolutely loves snakes and would have been devastated if she missed out,” Richardson said.
Fox News’ Ann Schmidt and Janine Puhak contributed to this report.