Koala survives 16km journey in wheel arch of a auto

Kelli the koala held on tight over a 16km car ride

The koala crawled inside the vehicle while the auto was parked in the hills on the outskirts of the city.

Jane Brister from local group Fauna Rescue said they looked for the baby marsupial but to no avail.

"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", Brister said.

It is thought the koala nestled in behind a wheel of the vehicle sometime on Saturday before she was discovered later that night.

'She was wedged in very, very tight so I got underneath vehicle with a head torch and all I could see was a furry lump amoungst the axle, ' Ms Brister told Daily Mail Australia. No, I've never seen anything like that and it's absolutely incredible.

"She was stuck in there, I tried to get her out but she was really wedged in there tight and hanging on for dear life".

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Sadly, although the koala was uninjured, Brister said the animal was a lactating mother which meant her joey - the term for infant marsupials - was missing.

The koala was dubbed Kelli, after one of the firefighters who rescued her.

Rescuers returned to the scene in the early hours of the morning searching for the joey but there was no sign of it.

'There was blood on the inside of the wheel and she wasn't bleeding.

Despite the death defying experience, Kelly escaped with very minor injuries and was released back into the wild Friday afternoon.

Ms Brister is a long serving wildlife rescue officer with Fauna Rescue of South Australia's Koala and is a koala specialist.