A field-dwelling gecko has accidentally made the trip from Egypt to England after hitching a ride in a container of strawberries.
The little traveler was discovered by Nikata Moran, who was buying a box of strawberries at her local Lidl supermarket in Manchester, England, on January 18, according to a press release from the RSPCA, a British animal welfare organization.
After unpacking the groceries, Moran noticed a “small head” among the strawberries, according to the release
“I took 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,” Moran said in the release. “When I looked again, I saw this little gecko, I couldn’t believe it. It seemed very alert, so I managed to get it on a spoon and put it in a plastic container, where it moved very, very quickly.”
The tail of the little Egyptian gecko had fallen off, but it was otherwise unharmed. The tail is likely to grow back, according to the RSPCA.
“Apart from the little piece of tail that I found in the punt, it seemed unharmed, I just can’t get over the journey it took and ended up in my kitchen!” said the 29-year-old nurse.
The tiny 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 collect the gecko.
RSPCA inspector Rachel Henderson said in the release that she was shocked by the gecko’s small size.
“This little one was absolutely minute, and I have no idea how something so small survived for so long in transport in a sealed container, and we would like to thank Nikata and the other organizations that helped us with this little lizard,” she said.
The reptile was first taken to Ashleigh Veterinary Centre, which has experience in caring for exotic animals, and then to Reptilia Exotic Animal Rescue in Ossett, West Yorkshire.
A rep for Reptilia said in the release that the organization has encountered stowaway geckos before.
“Accidentally imported geckos are very common in most reptile rescues up and down the country,” the representative said in the release. “We have some of them with us at the moment that have come from different continents. They seem to adapt very well to captivity and are seen to thrive in bioactive environments.
“This little one has settled in well and will be ready to be rehomed once he passes the quarantine period.”