A stowaway gecko who came to the UK from Barbados after hiding in luggage has been safely caught by the RSPCA – after being on the run in the holidaymaker’s house for two months!
A woman first saw the tiny critter – who is one-inch long – in her house in Stanley Road, Knutsford, Cheshire, on Sunday last week (9 December).
The gecko scurried away but was spotted again on Tuesday (11 December) and the RSPCA were informed.
It turns out that the house gecko was from Barbados, where the woman had been on holiday in October.
RSPCA inspector Jenny Bethel said: “We can only assume that this little gecko has been living in her house for two months after hiding in her luggage. He is a very fast-mover so it is not surprise that he was hard to catch!
“It isn’t the first time the holidaymaker saw the gecko, as when they were in Barbados they saw the gecko in their hotel room.
“He is tiny and he was also emaciated, as it is likely he was struggling to find anything to eat in the house.
“The poor thing isn’t used to the temperatures over here either, he is more used to the hot climate of Barbados, so he is lucky to be alive.”
The gecko is now with a specialist reptile keeper, where he will live in a special large enclosure which mimics the conditions he is used to in the Caribbean.
Inspector Bethel said: “It is a timely reminder to anyone who is jetting off for some Christmas sun to check their luggage when packing to come home – and if you do accidentally bring a stowaway home with you, call us on 0300 1234 999.
“We would always advise people to treat any unidentified animal with caution until identified accurately and not to try to handle an animal that has been discovered as accidentally imported.”
The RSPCA receives a lot of calls throughout the year from people who have found spiders, lizards and other exotic animals that have stowed away in deliveries or in suitcases.
Unfortunately it is unlikely we would ever be able to return accidentally imported animals to their native environments, therefore these animals are rehomed to specialist keepers, zoos or wildlife parks who have the necessary knowledge and facilities to care for them properly.
Geckos, like other reptiles, have specific needs including controlled temperature, lighting and humidity. This gecko would be very unlikely to survive UK temperatures and it would be an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to release it, or to allow it to escape into the wild.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website.