The sound of "banging" coming from a parked car in a hotel parking lot led to a shocking discovery the morning after a wallaby was hit by an oblivious driver.
Hiding behind the grille at the front of the vehicle was the two-year-old joey named Annie, who'd tragically become stuck inside upon impact and unknowingly left there overnight.
It was a "miracle" she survived, Wildcare Inc rescuer Kristie Argall told Yahoo News Australia. "We couldn't believe it," she said.
"It doesn't happen as often with macropods; it is more common with birds as they are smaller. It looks like she's gone in head first and then the grille has collapsed in on itself," she explained.
Rescuers prepared for severe injuries
Guests at the Beagle Motor Inn in Katherine, Northern Territory heard the banging before noticing the joey. It's believed the driver accidentally hit her along the Stuart Highway on his way to the hotel but "didn't even notice her in there".
"[The guests] wanted to help her and tried for over an hour to get her out. I think they had to pull the whole grille off," said Kristie who was notified by text. However, stuck some 317km away in Darwin, she said she was "really worried" so she sent another carer, Jenny, to the rescue.
"I said 'I don't know the extent of these injuries, this could be really bad'. I was expecting both her legs to be broken, really badly broken," she explained. "I said to Jen, 'it's probably not going to be a nice scene'".
Joey released back into the wild
Somehow Annie managed not to have any "visible breaks". "She just had localised swelling on her face" and was in "severe shock," Kristie said.
Kristie, who's been with Wildcare for about four years, took her in to monitor her before eventually releasing her back into the wild on a property in Katherine where other wallabies roam.
"It was just the absolute best feeling ever," the wildlife carer said, watching Annie hop away into the bushes. "We released her on a property that belongs to one of our carers, Maria. I was in tears watching her go, we were both overwhelmed with happiness that she’d made it".
'Always stop and check'
"My advice to everyone would be if you hit anything, stop and check and have a really decent check of your car," Kristie said. "Then give your wildlife rescue a ring and we can walk you through the steps of what to do".
If in this situation it were a "big male" and not a "sweet" little female like Annie, "it could be dangerous" Kristie warned. "If it is too dangerous, we'll get a career out that's trained to deal with that sort of situation," she said.
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