The RSPCA is appealing to people returning from holidays abroad to make sure they don’t unexpectedly return with a stowaway.
It comes after animal collection officer Jayne Fuller rescued three lizards in as many days after the charity was contacted about the stowaways by people returning from Greece, Turkey and Spain.
Jayne said “It’s so important to thoroughly check and re-check luggage including clothes, shoes, towels and bags before leaving holiday destinations.”
Jayne’s first lizard rescue was a common house gecko who’d been discovered clinging onto hand luggage during a train journey back to Hereford from the airport following a holidaymakers return from Turkey.
Just days later, a wall lizard crept out when a suitcase was unpacked in Warwick following after a trip to Greece.
Another accidental import arrived in Tewkesbury in a suitcase belonging to a holidaymaker who was returning from Spain.
The RSPCA said as Reptiles are ectothermic, they rely on their environment to warm up or cool down, therefore it is essential that they transferred these lizards quickly to a specialist exotics centre who could care for them properly, in an enclosure that would provide the right temperature gradient and humidity for the species.
As these reptiles are not native to the UK it would be an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to release them, or to allow them to escape into the wild.
You can get further advice here.