A koala survived a 10-mile journey stuck under a car’s wheel arch until the driver stopped and heard the distressed animal’s cries.
The female koala had crawled under the four wheel drive vehicle while it had been parked in the hills on the outskirts of Adelaide, Australia.
Firefighters were called and removed the wheel off the car to free the animal, which was clinging to the axle.
The koala, which is a protected “vulnerable” species, was taken to a nearby vet where it was discovered she once had a joey – a baby koala.
Jane Brister, of the wildlife group Fauna Rescue said:’She had a lot of knocks on her upper back which is a sign a joey was clinging to her back.”
Rescuers returned to the scene in the early hours of the morning searching for the joey but there was no sign of it.
Ms Brister said: “It would have been hot in there. You think you’ve seen it all. No, I’ve never seen anything like that and it’s absolutely incredible.
“She was crying a little bit, she was a little bit shaken, she was certainly in shock but I rushed her straight to the vet.”
The koala was dubbed Kelli, the name of one of the firefighters who came to her rescue.
Dave Juniper of the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service, said: “Kelli’s one of our fine station officers and she led the rescue crew that day and she was quite excited to have such a good outcome.”
After being cleaned up and monitored for a week, the koala was released back into the bush.
Ms Brister added: “After everything she’s been through, she’s had so much stress and trauma, to see her just toddle off and up the tree, and currently she’s found the biggest fork in the tree, she’s snuggled up, she’s fast asleep.”
Rescue workers say it is not unusual for koalas to seek shelter in unusual places.
There are as few as 100,000 koalas left in the world.