A Texas woman has gone viral after capturing the moment she found an uninvited guest hiding in her Christmas tree.
Brett Ingram, 29, a media marketing manager based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, told Fox News Digital she was finishing up some work at home when she heard a soft sneeze.
“I kept working thinking I was maybe just hearing things. Then I heard it again with some other squeaking noises,” she said.
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At first she thought her cat had brought in a rat, or that some small kittens somehow entered her home, she said.
After looking under her couches and behind her curtains, Ingram finally found the source of the mysterious noise, she said.
“As I’m down crouched behind [my couch], I look over to the left and I just see his tail. A long, naked, rat-looking tail,” she said.
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“I stopped and kind of looked up some more and saw a large breathing ball of gray fur.”
Ingram made her way around the front of the tree and located the culprit — an opossum.
Ingram said she reached out to a friend who is a wildlife and rehab volunteer, but because it was late and the volunteers don’t take night calls, the friend shared some steps on how best to remove the creature from her tree and her home.
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“I just didn’t want to hurt him. I was really just calling for concern [to see] if babies were in [the animal’s] pouch,” Ingram said.
Ingram said her friend told her she’d be able to pull the opossum from the tree — but it became more of a challenge than Ingram anticipated.
“I started to try to get him out, but he was holding onto the branches,” she said. “He had some strength because he was big.”
Ingram was wearing gloves to protect herself from the marsupial as she plucked each of its fingers off the branches to release it from the Christmas tree.
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Once Ingram had pried the creature from the tree, it squirmed out of her hands and ran under her couch, she said.
“He ran behind the tree under the other couch and I kept moving it, and he would just do it again over and over,” Ingram recalled.
Ingram said she finally pushed the couch aside and was able to pick up the opossum under her arm just “like a cat or dog.”
The opossum was showing its teeth, she said — but there was no hissing.
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Ingram was able to calm the animal down before setting it outside her door and releasing it into the neighborhood.
Ingram said she didn’t panic after finding the animal, but wanted to “assess its behavior” and do whatever she could to make sure it was safe.
She is an animal lover and has many pets, including three dogs, two pythons, a bearded dragon and a cat.
She documented the moment when she found the opossum and shared it on TikTok. The video has garnered roughly 6.6 million views.
She believes the animal may have been inside her home for at least a couple of days before she found it, she said, though she’s unsure how it got inside.
While both possums and opossums are marsupials — the two animals have their differences.
Opossums were reportedly discovered in Virginia in the 17th century by John Smith and are the only marsupials found in North America.
“Though ‘opossum’ is sometimes shortened to ‘possum’ in North America, with the two words often being used synonymously, this is technically a misnomer,” according to Terminix, a pest control management organization.
Possums were first discovered in Australia in the late 1700s.
“Unlike opossums, possums have furry tails — which is how they got the name brushtail possums — and are found throughout Australia,” Terminix wrote online.
Australian possums have shorter, less pointed snouts in comparison to the opossums found in North America.
It has been two weeks since Ingram posted her viral video and the opossum has not made another appearance outside her home.
Meanwhile, she’s checking her security cameras in case it decides to make another visit, she said.
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