Holiday warning after passenger stunned by VERY strange stowaway in their suitcase | The Sun

HOLIDAYMAKERS are being urged to check their luggage carefully before flying back to the UK, after a lizard ended up travelling from Mexico to Sunderland last month.

The RSPCA are warning Brits to have a thorough check of their suitcases before returning home, in a bid to reduce the number of exotic stowaways, which then need rescuing.

The message comes as a traveller from Houghton-le-Spring in Sunderland found a gecko when he was unpacking his suitcase after flying home from Mexico. 

The gecko had crawled into his luggage while he was packing to return from his holiday.

The Wearside reptile is not the only one to have unwittingly moved to the UK this year, with others also discovered.

Two stowaway lizards nicknamed Kevin and Perry (after the Harry Enfield characters) made a 4,300 mile journey from Florida to Lincolnshire in a suitcase. 

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They were found in March, after vet Mark Goodlad returned to his home in Kirton in Lindsey, following a family holiday to Disneyland, Orlando.

In February this year, a traveller from North London who had recently returned from South Africa found a rock gecko lurking in her luggage. 

The creature was transported to the RSPCA Brighton Reptile Centre for rehoming.

RSPCA Scientific Officer Evie Button advised passengers to double check there are no unwanted animals lurking in suitcases and to make sure bags are zipped up after they've been packed.

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She said: “This is a timely reminder to anyone who is jetting off for their summer holidays to thoroughly check their luggage when packing to return home.

"Once packed, keep your bags zipped up. Don’t leave your bags open on the floor overnight as this also provides an opportunity for animals to hide away.

"These little stowaways can easily be concealed amongst your clothes in a suitcase and once they’ve arrived in the UK, sadly, they cannot be returned to their country of origin."

As the holiday season approaches, the animal charity revealed that last year, it received 70 reports of accidental stowaways in the luggage of people who had just come back from a holiday abroad.

Incidents included a lizard which hitched a ride in a bra in a suitcase, travelling 4,000 miles from Barbados back to Rotherham in September.

With far more people able to go abroad this year, the number of exotic animals returning to the UK could increase.

Evie advised treating any animals brought back with caution, especially if they are unidentified species.

She also recommended contacting a zoo or exotic pet shop instead of the RSPCA, who are very busy throughout the summer months.

She said: “We would always advise people to treat any unidentified animal with caution until identified accurately and not to try to handle an animal that has been discovered as accidentally imported.

“We are incredibly busy over the summer months so if anyone does find a stowaway as they are unpacking it would really help us if they contacted their nearest zoo or exotic pet shop in the first instance – so our frontline officers can prioritise rescuing animals from cruelty and neglect."

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