Koala survives 10-mile Australia trip in wheel arch

Getty Images  iStock

Getty Images iStock

A koala that endured travelling 16-kilometres clinging to the axle of a 4WD in the Adelaide Hills has been released back into the wild.

We love a heartwarming animal rescue story here and this one definitely has us welling up.

After removing the car's wheel they realised the koala wasn't stuck, just terrified and clinging on for dear life.

Earlier in the month a driver realised they had a passenger on the wheel well of their vehicle after driving 16 kilometres through the Adelaide hills.

He checked the auto and found the little creature terrified.

Firefighters were forced to remove the wheel of the vehicle to free the marsupial, who had suffered only minor injuries.

"She had been feeding recently and when they have a bigger back riding joey they leave little knots, they knot up all the fur on their mum's back from holding on and she had that on her back", Ms Brister said.

Sweet mother of all that is divine, hold us.

While rushing the koala to the vet, Brister discovered she was lactating and likely missing a joey, or infant.

"Kelli's one of our fine station officers and she led the rescue crew that day and she was quite excited to have such a good outcome", said Dave Juniper of the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service.

Koalas are endangered in Australia, the marsupials are becoming more and more endangered by habitat destruction caused by urban spread and agricultural practices.

The koala has been deemed a vulnerable species and there are as few as 100,000 left in the world.