A terrified koala clung on to a car’s axle for dear life for 10 miles after it climbed into the wheel arch.
The driver, who has not been identified, only realised they had picked up an extra passenger when they stopped the car and heard the cries of the animal.
Remarkably, the female koala was unhurt and has since been released back into the wild, but her joey is feared to have been killed.
Firefighters were forced to remove the car’s wheel to help free the animal in Adelaide, Australia.
Jane Brister, an animal rescue worker from Fauna Rescue, said: ‘€œI could smell her burnt fur. It would have been hot in there.’
The koala crawled inside the vehicle while the car was parked in the hills on the outskirts of the city.
Ms Brister said the koala was a lactating mother, meaning she had a joey – but the baby was missing.
She added: ‘I searched that night and the next day, and the next, but I never found it.’
After a couple of days of feeding in captivity, it was released back into the wild.
Koalas are listed as ‘vulnerable’ in Australia – there are fewer than 100,000 remaining in the wild, with some estimates putting the number as low as 43,000.