Lingerie-loving lizard hitches ride in bra and travels 4,000 miles from Barbados to near Doncaster
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The tiny reptile - now called Barbie - was spotted by a returning holidaymaker and is now in the care of the RSPCA.
The tiny globe-trotting gecko was busted when she was spotted by Lisa Russell, 47, when she returned to her home in Manor Farm Court, in Thrybergh on Tuesday and went to unpack her suitcase after holidaying in the Caribbean.
Lisa, a beautician, could see what looked like a very small speck on her F-cup bra - so she gave it a shake and then she saw the gecko move.
She said: “I thought it was a tiny dead creature and then when it moved I started screaming - it is not what you expect to find in your bra after a 4,000-mile journey.
“The tiny lizard was lucky as the bra was on top of my suitcase on my clean pile - as it was so hot out there I didn’t bother wearing one. It must have been happy in its new pad!
“I am just so shocked not only did it survive the journey but also the fact it didn’t get squashed as my suitcase was so full when we were returning I had to sit on it to get it zipped up.
“It must have been in my suitcase for at least 24 hours as I packed it on Monday morning - local time - and started unpacking at lunchtime the following day.
“I wasn't sure what to do - but managed to put it safely in a box and then called the RSPCA for help.”
RSPCA Inspector Sandra Dransfield was sent to collect baby gecko who are usually found in warm areas in their natural habitat.
She named her Barbie after the busty doll and the island from where she came.
She said: “Lisa was quite relaxed about the whole thing and thought it was funny that the gecko had safely made the trans-atlantic crossing in her bra - unlike a lot of women the lizard must have found it comfy!
“She was laughing and said to me ‘imagine taking a nap and then waking up near Doncaster!’
“The gecko has travelled more than 4,000 miles and appears unscathed by her adventure and unlike most holidaymakers did not need to have Covid tests.
“She had some water droplets which I sprayed into her container and then she seemed fine.
“I am just glad Lisa called us as some people may think to release animals like this into the wild, which is illegal as they are a non-native species and also sad as they would not survive in our climate.”
The gecko was taken in by a specialist reptile keeper where she is doing well.
Last month the RSPCA were also called to collect a gecko which had hitched a ride in a suitcase from Crete to Altrincham in Cheshire.
The Mediterranean house gecko was spotted by holidaymaker Victoria Naylor when she returned to her home. This gecko - called Gary - is also in the care of a specialist keeper.
The RSPCA receives calls from people every year 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 at this time of year.
The RSPCA would like to remind holidaymakers to always give their cases an extra thorough check before heading home just in case they too pick up a surprising stowaway.