updated 12/23/2005 9:05:12 AM ET 2005-12-23T14:05:12

ENGLEWOOD, Pa. — Sixteen-year-old girl Mary Kathleen O’Connor was spending some quiet time studying near the Christmas tree when she saw something moving in the family fir.

“I’m looking at the tree and the angel just pops off,” O’Connor said of the Tuesday morning incident. “And a second later, this head just popped up. The eyes were, like, glowing. I was thinking, ’Oh my God!’ And I screamed.”

Her family called police, and William E. O’Donnell, a state Game Commission deputy wildlife conservation officer, removed an 18-inch-long opossum from the 8-foot Douglas fir the family had bought — bundled — from a dealer in Seltzer.

O’Donnell caged the animal and released it in woods about five miles away.

The tree, meanwhile, was still in the front yard where Mary’s mother, Patricia, had hurled it.

“The lights are still on it,” the teen’s father, Michael O’Connor said. “So is the stand.”

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