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People Are Finding Wild Animals in Their Christmas Trees & We're Not Talking Turtle Doves

christmas tree
Chantal de Bruijne/shutterstock

Georgia resident and mother Katie McBride Newman was a big fan of owls, so she hung around a dozen nocturnal cuties on her Christmas tree. She told CNN that her family purchased the tree on November 30, and from that point on they had existed peacefully within the home, not one flap or hoot distrupting their silent nights. But alll of that changed last week, on Thursday evening, when they realized one of the owl ornaments had some wandering eyes. 

Newman had just finished dinner with her two children, India and Jack, when she heard India say, "Oh my gosh!" and begin to cry. After a brief investigation, Newman discovered the live owl living in her tree. An ornament of impressive craftsmanship turned its head to look at her. India sobbed again.

"I'm like, 'Oh, that's a real owl,'" Newman said, per the report.

She left the windows and doors open for the owl to escape, but it chose instead to hang out with its inanimate brethren. They eventually called the Chattahoochee Nature Center, who sent an employee over Saturday morning after recommending the family try to feed the owl a piece of chicken. The bird was identified as an Eastern screech owl, which is common in Georgia, and prefers bugs, lizards, and small mice over a fellow bird. 

But while the owl was released and the family settling back down, one woman in Australia was likely still recovering from an incident that happened earlier in December, when she got home to find a 10-foot python wrapped around her tree.

Brisbane, Queensland resident Leanne Chapman returned home on December 12 to some birds wildly sounding off, according to CNN.

"We came home from work and there's a couple of butcher birds that visit every day and they were just kicking off on the balcony, going crazy," Chapman told CNN affiliate 7News. Her partner started filming the birds while leaning on the tree, at which point they both realized what they'd stumbled on. 

"It was big -- really big," Chapman said. She added that it was nice to see the animal up close, and that they let the animal be. 

"It wasn't bothered by us," recalled Chapman. "It just stayed there for a good few hours as we watched it through the window." The couple did not offer any chicken, and the animal eventually slithered away.

We advise readers to check your tree immediately for wild animals, making sure to inform your loved ones that you are looking for snakes or owls, because that is a perfectly normal and reasonable thing to do considering the epidemic we are facing this holiday season. 

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Ruby Anderson is a News Writer for Thrillist.