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Gecko arrives in Maidstone after stowing away on a container ship from China

A gecko arrived at a musical instrument importing company in Maidstone, after travelling as a stowaway on a 4,800-mile trip from China.

The lizard survived three months hidden inside a box of musical instruments.

Thin Lizard is lucky to be alive
Thin Lizard is lucky to be alive

The RSPCA, which is now caring for him at its Reptile Rescue Centre in Brighton, said the creature was lucky to be alive.

Insp Clive Hopwood said: "Geckos, like other reptiles, need a specific temperature gradient suitable for the species, as they are ectothermic, meaning that they rely on their environment to warm up or cool down as needed.

"This gecko was lucky to survive so long - particularly over the winter months - without specialist equipment to regulate temperature."

The RSPCA have named the gecko, who is only 10cm long, "Thin Lizard".

Mr Hopwood said: "The company's staff were unpacking a box last week when the little gecko scuttled out.

The gecko was in hiding for three months
The gecko was in hiding for three months

"The box had been part of a shipment that had travelled over from China in a sealed ocean shipping container in October, but the box wasn’t unpacked until three months later.

“It’s amazing that this little gecko survived such a long journey and such a long time shut inside the sealed packaging, but they were able to confine him and then called us for help."

Thin Lizard has been identified as an Asian house gecko.

In the Far East, geckos are welcomed inside many homes, where they perform a useful service catching flies and mosquitoes.

The RSPCA also hopes the gecko’s remarkable trip will remind holidaymakers to always give their cases an extra thorough check before heading home just in case they too pick up a surprising stowaway.

He is barely 10com long
He is barely 10com long

Anyone who finds a non-native animal stowed away from another country should contact the RSPCA for advice on 0300 1234 999.

Such creatures should not be released as they could damage our native wildlife and would be unlikely to survive in our weather conditions.

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