A woman discovered a wild possum hanging out in her Christmas tree after hearing it 'sneeze' while she was home alone

  • A woman in Texas filmed the moment she discovered a wild possum hiding out in her Christmas tree.

  • Brett Ingram told Business Insider she was home alone when she heard the creature "sneeze."

  • She said it took 30 minutes to wrangle the animal, and she briefly thought about keeping it as a pet.

Forget a "partridge in a pear tree" — have you ever heard of a possum in a Christmas tree?

The chances of finding a wild animal hanging out in your festive shrub are slim but not impossible as a woman from Texas recently found out.

Brett Ingram, 29, shared her shocking discovery in a TikTok video posted on November 29. In the clip, which has over 4.3 million views as of Wednesday, she zooms in on her Christmas tree, revealing a possum sitting in between the artificial, snow-covered branches.

"I'm literally freaking out right now," Ingram says in the clip. "I have no idea how this possum got in my house and up into my tree."

In a follow-up TikTok shared on December 1, Ingram said she was sitting on her couch at home alone when a "sneeze" caught her attention.

She said she owns a few pets, so she didn't give the noise much thought at first. But when she heard another loud sneeze, she got up to investigate.

That's when Ingram said she spotted a "long-looking rat tail" coming out of her Christmas tree. In shock, she looked up and realized what the tail was connected to: a wild possum.

Speaking to Business Insider, Ingram said one of the first things she did when she discovered the creature was call a local wildlife expert.

The expert wasn't available for a night call, but Ingram said she shared advice on how to remove the wild animal from the tree safely.

After the initial shock wore off, Ingram said she wasn't afraid to get close and personal with the possum.

"I had so much background knowledge on possums and how they're so misunderstood," she said. Ingram said people wrongly assume that possums always carry rabies, which isn't the case.

According to the National Park Service, possums aren't immune to rabies but "rarely carry it" because they are marsupials, which means their body temperature is lower than most other mammals.

Possums rarely carry rabies, according to the US park service.
Possums rarely carry rabies, according to the National Park Service.Leonid Korchenko/Getty Images

After speaking to the wildlife expert, Ingram equipped herself with a hoodie and gloves and proceeded to spend roughly 30 minutes physically wrangling the possum out of her house.

"He wasn't aggressive, he wasn't hissing, he wasn't showing signs that he was going to attack me, so I just went for it and handled it myself," she said.

"His face looks small, but he was big — he was about as big as my cat, and my cat is very big," Ingram said.

Ingram also said that it took some trial and error to get the possum out of the tree because it seemed quite at home.

Possums, Ingram pointed out, have opposable thumbs.

"So he was holding on very, very tight like a toddler on a monkey bar," she added. "He didn't want to go back outside, but for his safety, he needed to."

Ingram still has no idea how it got there in the first place. It couldn't have come with the tree because hers isn't real, she said.

"The tree was decorated about 10 days prior to me finding him in it, so it had nothing to do with him hiding in the tree or the box," she said.

Her best guess is that the possum had somehow managed to sneak in through her front or back door behind her dogs a few days before she found it.

"The possum had to have been in here for a couple of days at minimum," she said. It might've been more active at night when she was asleep since they're nocturnal creatures, she added.

While the encounter was a shock, Ingram said she'd prefer to find a possum in her tree over an owl or a praying mantis, which can lay eggs on real Christmas trees, as a viral TikTok posted by Andrea Coward on November 21 showed.

Coward told ABC News that she originally filmed the incident in 2018, but she recently posted the clip, which has over 7.1 million views as of Wednesday, "to bring awareness to what could be in your tree."

"That's creepy to me," Ingram said, referring to the praying mantis eggs. "I'm still not afraid of them, but having a lot of them in the house, I feel like would be harder to get rid of than one big animal."

But when it came to the possum, Ingram said she would've considered keeping it as a pet if her boyfriend, who was out of state for work, was home to help her or if it was a baby.

Ingram and her boyfriend are both animal lovers and no strangers to sharing their home with a few unconventional pets, she said.

They currently own seven rescue animals: a bearded dragon, two ball pythons, a cat, and three dogs.

"We're both animal lovers," she said. "I think that if the possum was a baby, we probably would've ended up with it."

Read the original article on Business Insider