Published: 00:01, 02 May 2014
An intrepid pet lizard was reunited with her tearful young owner this week - eight months after she went missing.
Cornwallis Academy student Trystan Nield, 13, was distraught when his beloved little Leopard Gecko Matilda escaped from her enclosure in August.
It happened while the family were holidaying in France.
After moving house weeks later the Nields lost all hope of ever seeing the cold-blooded critter again.
But this week the power of the internet brought the pair back together in a surprise reunion captured in an emotional YouTube video.
Mum Anna, 45, said the lizard, who is now nicknamed Waltzing Matilda following her adventure, has a history of trying to escape.
She said: “Matilda had managed to work out how to push the mesh top of her vivarium up enough to get out so in the end we weighed it down which seemed to stop it.
“When we went away our friend’s son kindly came round to look after our reptiles but to his dismay, one morning he noticed that she’d gone.
“We searched everywhere but we couldn’t find her. Trystan was unbelievably upset.”
Three weeks later the family uprooted from Staplehurst to Cranbrook with heavy hearts, believing they would never see the lizard again.
Last week Mrs Nield was contacted via friends on Facebook pointing her towards a post in a group for lost and found items, where someone had found an unknown creature and wanted to know what is was.
“Never in a million years did we think we would ever see her again" - mother Anna Nield
The initial poster was the family’s former neighbour in Stanley Close, who had stumbled across Matilda in her garden.
Mutual friends then tagged Mrs Neild, knowing that she knew a thing or too about lizards. She quickly identified the breed, before realising it was Matilda.
The animal is thought to have found a hole somewhere in the home and had gone into hibernation, only to be awoken by the recent warm weather and gone out searching for for food.
Mrs Nield said: “To know one of our pets has managed to survive such an ordeal is really special to us. Never in a million years did we think we would ever see her again.
Video: Trystan the moment he is reunited with his beloved gecko Matilda
“The moment Trystan was reunited with her was just magical and it couldn’t have happened without Facebook. It has brought so much joy to so many people.”
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