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Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:10 UK
Holidaymaker's surprise souvenir

Turkish Gecko
The gecko is believed to be a baby, as it is 40mm long

A holidaymaker brought back more than she intended when returning from a holiday in Spain as a Turkish Gecko was found at her home a week later.

Sarah Clifton from Watchet found the small lizard in her bathroom window. The same one was seen on her bathroom window at her hotel in Costa Blanca.

Tropiquaria Zoo director Chris Moiser, who has seen the lizard in question, said it was lucky to have survived the trip.

"If the heating hadn't been on in the baggage hold of the aircraft the lizard would certainly have perished.

"As this is effectively a baby gecko at only 40 mm in length, when the adults are normally 100 mm long we obviously have concerns about feeding it, but we are giving it fruit flies which it seems to enjoy and hope that we can succeed in rearing it."

This species has historically been spread around the world by human travellers from its origins in Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It even crossed the Atlantic and entered the USA in 1830 as a result of stowaways on a ship that docked in Mobile Alabama, and it has since spread outward from there.

"Whilst we often hear of animals being introduced through commercial imports of timber, food-stuffs and other cargo, this is perhaps a reminder that even a holiday maker can unwittingly bring back animals.

"Fortunately this little lizard, even if imported in greater numbers would be unlikely to breed here and establish a viable population."




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