Tiny gecko hitches a ride to Manchester on beer pallet

A little gecko was a surprise addition to a pallet of beer being handled by staff at the Manchester warehouse of beer importer Cave Direct last week.

Skull King the gecko resting on the eponymous box used in its capture. Its tail will grow back.

The tiny stowaway – believed to be a ‘Moorish gecko’ – was discovered by a pallet of Paulaner kegs on Thursday 4 January and due to the cold temperature didn’t get far before it was trapped using an empty Beavertown Brewery ‘Skull King’ box – after which the reptile has since been named.*

The RSPCA was called and aside from shedding its tail during the chase – a harmless defence mechanism – the lizard was otherwise unharmed and it is hoped ‘Skull King’ will soon find a new home.

Quite where the lizard is from is something of a mystery. Although the gecko’s natural range is the African and European western Mediterranean, Moorish geckos have been introduced to other parts of the world including the US.

Skull King’s discovery by a pallet of Paulaner suggests its origins are likely European but there’s an outside chance it might have hitched a ride from afar afield as Hawaii, 7,000 miles away – Cave Direct being the UK importer for Kona Brewing Company.

Either way Skull King had a lucky escape, avoiding being crushed in transit and surviving the distinctly non-gecko friendly weather of Northern Europe in winter.

Exotic stowaways turning up in goods shipments (especially fruit) are not uncommon in the UK and the RSPCA is called out several times a year to collect various animals and creepy crawlies that turn up where they shouldn’t be and some are distinctly less appealing than Skull King’s ilk

As manager Will Evans told the Manchester Evening News: “I’m glad we got a friendly little lizard instead of a huge huntsman spider.”


* And also because it was ‘skulking’ around the warehouse – geddit?

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