Santa? Raccoon hiding in Christmas tree surprises Florida woman

Wild encounter caught on viral video as raccoon climbed tree, dangled from ceiling lights

Raccoon hiding in Christmas tree surprises Florida woman
Raccoon hiding in Christmas tree surprises Florida woman

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A Florida woman recently awoke to a surprise not under her Christmas tree but in it and mistakenly believed it could be a cat but it turned out to be a wild raccoon seeking warmth in the night.

The trash panda didn’t climb down the chimney like Santa Claus but came in through the dog door of Aubrey Iacobelli’s Tallahassee home, much to her fright.

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Iacobelli shared a now-viral video of the encounter on Facebook that began at 4:15 a.m. “There’s a cat in my Christmas tree,” she says at the beginning of the video.

She started trying to ward off the “cat” by poking at the tree and spraying the animal with vinegar but the closer Iacobelli got, she became less sure of her original assessment of her intruder’s feline nature.

“Go, go, get,” she told the furry animal hiding amid the branches of her tree. “That’s not a cat, what is that? Is that a squirrel? No.”

Iacobelli’s video also stars her big beautiful dog, Luca,-- the intended user of the dog door-- who attempted to capture their unwelcome guest and suffered some scratches in the fray.

After failing to force out the “thing” in her tree, Iacobelli let Luca out. Soon after, she realized what the creature was lurking among her Christmas lights.

[Watch the video below. Warning: The video includes expletives]

An early surprise waiting for me in the Christmas Tree this morning. Edit: my friend made a song about this encounter today ❤️😂🐾🦝🌲 https://www.facebook.com/5236038/posts/10117087460893243/?

Posted by Aubrey Iacobelli on Thursday, December 10, 2020

“Oh it’s a raccoon ... this is bad,” she exclaimed, along with an expletive that might put her on Santa’s naughty list.

On the case, the video shows Luca go for the trash panda and down came Iacobelli’s beautiful tree, twinkling lights and all. Luca and the masked bandit struggled for a few minutes. Iacobelli says both animals were “relatively fine.”

Between the crashing of the tree, Icaobelli’s screaming, the dog barking and whatever noises a raccoon playing defense makes it was quite a holiday soundtrack.

However, the raccoon escaped to freedom, heading for the dining room.

“You can probably tell what’s going to happen next,” Iacobelli wrote in the video, as the raccoon climbs onto her dining table and up into the light fixture.

Around 5 a.m., Iacobelli provided an update showing her tattered tree and the raccoon chilling in her light fixture, swinging in circles.

After a quick use of a broom, the intruder was vanquished and the Florida woman in distress could go back to sleep, according to her video.

Thankfully, in the morning Iacobelli found the whole situation as funny as the rest of the internet and shared her video. For her good deed, she will surely be on Santa’s nice list.

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About the Author:

Emilee is a digital journalist for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com, where she writes about space and Central Florida news. Emilee hosts the Edward R. Murrow Award-winning podcast Space Curious. Previously, she was a space writer and web editor for the Orlando Sentinel and a web producer at the Naples Daily News.