Lizard hitches ride in suitcase from Spain to Portsmouth

NEW IN TOWN The Moorish gecko now resident at the Blue Reef aquarium
NEW IN TOWN The Moorish gecko now resident at the Blue Reef aquarium
Oriana Taylor of Stubbington with her Local Hero award. Picture: Chris Moorhouse.

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AFTER a brilliant holiday in sun, the Lucas family wished they could take a little bit of Spain home with them.

But they got more than they bargained for when they opened up their suitcase to find a tiny lizard had stowed away in there.

Amazingly, the 1.5in Moorish gecko had managed to make it through a two-and-a-half-hour flight tucked snugly inside one of Russell Lucas’ trouser pockets.

The exotic gecko is now settling in to his new home at the Blue Reef Aquarium on Southsea Seafront.

Mr Lucas. 53, from Portsmouth, was staying in Almeria at his in-laws home with his grandaughter Emily Lucas, five, and his partner’s son, Bobby Sadler, seven.

Mr Lucas said: ‘We opened up the case and this little lizard scuttled out and ran into a thick floor rug,

‘Just the night before we’d been watching the lizards catching insects on the wall of the house in Spain.

‘I was astonished to be honest with you. And the guy at Blue Reef said he was amazed it had survived considering the cabin pressure.

‘It had been stuck in the suitcase for about 24 hours so it’s a tough little thing.’

Native to the western Mediterranean region of Europe and North Africa, the Moorish gecko is also known as the crocodile or wall gecko.

Fully grown adults can reach up to 6in in length and are a common sight on walls and in urban environments throughout the warmer, coastal towns and cities of Spain.

Mainly nocturnal, the lizards hunt insects; often making use of street lamps to catch their prey which has been attracted to the light.

They are normally brown or grey and change colour according to the intensity of light.

Blue Reef’s Lindsay Holloway said: ‘The little lizard is now being cared for in our quarantine area. He’s a little too small to go out on display at the moment and we want to keep him under observation for a while longer to make sure he’s okay.

‘However considering his amazing journey, which presumably included hours in a pressurised hold whilst on board the plane, he appears to be doing extremely well.

‘He seems to be none the worse for his epic flight.’