A baby gecko has traveled two and a half thousand miles from Crete, Greece to UK’s Manchester, after hitching a ride in someone’s suitcase.
The Mediterranean house gecko was found by Victoria Naylor when she returned to her home in the town of Altrincham, near Manchester..
Local radio station, Planet radio, reports that Naylor spotted something moving in her case the day after her return on August 25, and two days later the gecko was spotted by her children climbing up a wall in their house.
She said: I just saw something move from the suitcase but couldn’t find anything when I searched the room – and a couple of days later it appeared on a wall in the house.
“It was so tiny and it is remarkable to think this gecko managed to travel so far especially as the temperature would not be what he was used to.”
Baby gecko collected by animal welfare group
The family managed to contain the reptile, now named Gary, in a plastic container and fed it water before it was collected by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) rescuer Jess Araujo.
RSPCA is a charity operating in England and Wales that promotes animal welfare. The RSPCA is funded primarily by voluntary donations. Its patron is Queen Elizabeth II.
Araujo said: We believe the gecko is a baby as it is so small and about the size of a two pence piece. “He has travelled more than 2,500 miles but he appears unscathed by his long and adventurous journey and unlike most travellers did not need to have Covid tests!”
Gary the gecko is now in the care of a specialist reptile keeper and is doing well, the RSPCA said.
The charity said it gets calls from people every year who have found spiders, lizards and other exotic animals that have stowed away in deliveries or in suitcases, and asks them to check their luggage to ensure there are no stowaways.
The creatures cannot be returned to their native countries and must be rehomed to specialist keepers, zoos and wildlife parks who are able to look after them.
Geckos are mostly carnivorous lizards
Geckos, like other reptiles, have specific needs including controlled temperature, lighting and humidity, and would be very unlikely to survive UK temperatures at this time of year.
They are small, mostly carnivorous lizards that have a wide distribution, found on every continent except Antarctica. All geckos except species in the family Eublepharidae lack eyelids; instead, the outer surface of the eyeball has a transparent membrane, the cornea. They have a fixed lens within each iris that enlarges in darkness to let in more light.
Like most lizards, geckos can lose their tails in defense, a process called autotomy. Many species are well known for their specialized toe pads that enable them to climb smooth and vertical surfaces, and even cross indoor ceilings with ease.
Geckos are well known to people who live in warm regions of the world, where several species make their home inside human habitations.
These (for example the house gecko) become part of the indoor menagerie and are often welcomed, as they feed on insects, including moths and mosquitoes. Unlike most lizards, geckos are usually nocturnal.