A globe-trotting gecko has accidentally made the trip from Egypt to England after hitching a ride in a container of strawberries.
The tiny traveler was discovered by Nikata Moran, who bought a box of strawberries at her local Lidl supermarket in Manchester, England, on January 18, according to a news release from RSPCA, a British animal welfare organization.
After unpacking her groceries, Moran noticed a “little head” among the strawberries, according to the release
“I got the strawberries out of the fridge and saw something move out of the corner of my eye and thought it was a spider or something,” said Moran in the release. “When I looked again I saw this tiny gecko, I couldn’t believe it. It seemed very alert, so I managed to get it onto a spoon and pop it into a plastic container, where it moved very, very fast.”
The tiny Egyptian gecko’s tail had fallen off but it was otherwise uninjured. The tail will likely grow back, according to the RSPCA.
“Apart from the little piece of tail, which I found in the punnet, it seemed uninjured, I just can’t get over the journey it had, ending up in my kitchen!” said the 29-year-old nurse.
The minuscule reptile was just 2.5 centimeters long, according to the RSPCA. After moving her unexpected guest into a plastic container, Moran called the RSPCA, who sent an inspector to pick up the gecko.
RSPCA inspector Rachel Henderson said in the release that she was shocked at the gecko’s small size.
“This little one was absolutely minute and I have no idea how something so tiny survived for such a long time in transit in a sealed up container, and we’d like to thank Nikata and the other organisations who helped us with this little lizard,” she said.
The reptile was first taken to the Ashleigh Veterinary Centre, which has experience caring for exotic animals, and then to Reptilia Exotic Animal Rescue in Ossett, West Yorkshire.
A representative for Reptilia said in the release that the organization has encountered stowaway geckos before.
“Accidentally imported geckos are very commonly seen in the majority of reptile rescues up and down the country,” said the representative in the release. “We have a few of them with us at the moment that have come from various continents. They seem to adapt very well to captivity and are seen to thrive in bioactive settings.
“This little one has settled in well and will be ready to be rehomed once he has passed his quarantine period.”