A college student living south of Raleigh is getting bemused international media coverage after she posted video of the moment she found an opossum family living in her barbecue grill.
Cat Cozzi tweeted a video May 4 of herself slowly sliding opening a grill drawer on her deck to reveal a protective opossum parent and multiple babies tucked inside.
The video lasts only 18 seconds, but has has been viewed 12.3 million times, prompted 8,500 comments and been covered by news outlets as far away as Australia, where the video was referred to as “bizarre.”
Cozzi explains on YouTube that her dog started sniffing around the grill “early on Saturday morning,” prompting an investigation. Her mother was the first to find the opossums, Cozzi said.
“My mom panicked and screamed and called for me to come check it out, so I grabbed some tongs and started recording to send the results to my friends,” Cozzi posted on YouTube.
“I opened it up and saw this family of eight! (one parent and seven babies). I didn’t want to get attacked or disturb them so I just closed the door and let them be. The possums still live in the grill.”
Cozzi, who lives south of Raleigh, told the Charlotte Observer she hasn’t used the grill “in a couple of months.” She admits being scared at first.
“But after I saw there were babies, I thought it was really cute and I just wanted them to be protected and safe!” she told the Observer.
“I was a ‘possum advocate prior to finding them, so posting the video and getting the attention, I found a good way for a bigger audience to learn about ‘possums.”
Commenters on YouTube and Twitter have responded with everything from jokes to horror. Many have also questioned why Cozzi politely knocked on the door of the grill before opening it.
“We just wanted to be on the safe side, in case momma got upset. Our arms wouldn’t be down there!” Cozzi explained on Twitter.