Brett Ingram had just come home from work and settled onto her couch when she saw it: The wild opossum in her Christmas tree.
The 29-year-old from the Dallas Fort Worth area got her first brush with TikTok vitality when she shared the image of the marsupial peeking out of the artificial tree, perched on a branch. She shared the shocking interaction with the wildlife creature Nov. 29.
“I am literally freaking out right now,” Ingram says in the video as the opossum peers out at her from the tree. “I have no idea how this possum got in my house and up into my tree, and I’m trying to get him out, but he won’t let me.”
The video has been viewed over 4.9 million times and features Ingram's caption, which underlines her shock. “I don’t understand how this thing is in my house right now,” the caption reads.
Speaking to TODAY.com, Ingram said that she first became aware of the mammal intruder when she heard a faint sneeze over her shoulder.
“I do have a lot of animals. So I thought it was one of mine,” she explains. Ingram is animal mom to three rescue dogs, a cat, two pythons and a bearded dragon.
“I looked over, kind of just still sitting (on the couch). I looked over, and kind of leaned up to look under the tree. And I didn’t see anything. So I was like, ‘Well, maybe I’m just hearing stuff.’”
Ingram says she shrugged it off and got back to working on her laptop.
Minutes went by, and then, she heard the sneeze again.
“So then I stood up because I was like, ‘OK, something’s over here,’” she explained. “My first initial thought was, ‘Is there like a kitten over here or like a rat or something? There’s something over there.’ So I started looking around and then when I looked to my left, where the tree was, I saw a really long, fat, naked tail. I stopped and I looked up and saw a very large, full-grown possum.”
Ingram says that in the moment she was more shocked than upset about having an opossum in her home.
“I am an animal lover so it was more of kind of an excitement, and I had before that video tried to get him out,” she says.
At first, she used rubber gloves to try to help him out of the tree. “I tried to pull him a little bit, but he just wasn’t having it. So then I took my phone out after and went back around and started getting videoing him from the front,” she says.
Ingram felt concerned for the animal's health and wanted to make sure he hadn’t been injured, especially since it may have been there for some time.
Her working theory is that the opossum climbed into the tree, which had been up for 10 days, at some point when she let out one of the other animals. “He was at least in my house for a couple of nights,” she says.
She contacted a local wildlife expert for help, who gave advice over the phone since she couldn't pay a home visit. Eventually, Ingram got the opossum — which she says was about the size of her cat — out of the tree without harming him or herself.
“He put up a fight and held on to the branches with his little hands, and it was big and strong, and it tested me for a little while,” Ingram says, noting that he didn’t attempt to bite or hiss at her. “He flopped out. He was trying to get away from me and ran under my couches back and forth multiple times.”
Ingram gave him a good look over to make sure he wasn’t injured as well as a small talking to.
“I told him how bad he smelled,” she says, noting that he must have secreted a defense smell during their tussle. “He smelled very bad. We did have a talk about that, and then I put him outside on his merry way, and it was the end of the possum story.”