A mother and daughter had a shock when an unexpected guest hitched a ride back from their Florida holiday and showed up at home in the UK.
The green anole lizard – native only to the southeastern United States and the Caribbean – was spotted by Margaret Crossland crawling along the wall at her home in Whitley Bay.
The robust reptile had crawled into the family’s luggage and survived the nearly 7,000km flight from Orlando to London before setting up camp in their home.
At first, Crossland’s daughter Rachel Bond thought her mother was seeing things in the days after their return from Florida.
Mrs Crossland told her daughter, “There is a lizard on my bedroom door,” Ms Bond told the Daily Mail.
“I wasn’t sure if it was her age that had caught up with her, but when I went upstairs she was adamant that she had seen the reptile go into her room.”
“We had a good look around and then we found it under the pillow on her bed.
“I think she was very relieved she didn’t wake up in the night with it on her face – that would have been quite a shocker,” she added.
RSPCA inspector Lucy Green told reporters that the lizard had needed some warming up, but was unharmed and had been handed over to the care of reptile specialists.
According to lizard care website everythingreptiles.com, harmless green anole lizards are “not hardy”, needing “exact humidity and lighting requirements to be kept green and healthy”.
They make good pets but must be handled very gingerly, say reptile experts.
“It is amazing to think he has survived such an incredible journey. He is certainly a very lucky lizard,” said Green.