Lizard travels from the Caribbean to Wickford

1 February 2019, 07:05 | Updated: 1 February 2019, 07:12

Lizard in Wickford, Essex

An exotic lizard has had an unexpected trip to Essex.

It's travelled 4200 miles from St Lucia to Wickford in someone's suitcase after their holiday.

They called the RSPCA after it jumped out and ran across the floor when they started to unpack their clothes.

RSPCA’s Animal Collection Officer (ACO) Joe White, who rescued the small stowaway, said: “I think they were quite shocked to see this exotic lizard jump out of their suitcase. Thankfully, they were able to grab him and give us a call. He was a little dehydrated but otherwise his 4,200 mile journey hadn’t done him any damage.

“I took him to be monitored by an exotics rescue centre and he has now been rehomed.”

The lizard is believed to be an anole lizard, which is a species from the Caribbean Lesser Antilles.

Every week, the RSPCA receives reports of exotic creatures - including scorpions, lizards and frogs - that have accidentally been imported in people’s luggage.  The charity’s message to holidaymakers is to take care when packing to make sure there aren't any unwelcome travel companions stowing away in clothes, shoes, towels or bags, and once packed, keep your bags zipped up.

ACO White added: “It’s really important that people thoroughly check their luggage before they leave their holiday destinations. Little critters like this one can easily hide in there and it must have been quite a shock for the lizard to end up in Essex.”