Gecko shock for Ebay belt shopper

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The Independent Online

A gallivanting gecko has turned up safe and well after hitching a 100-mile ride inside an envelope following an internet shopping mix-up.

Sahara, the leopard gecko, sneaked into an open parcel at his owner's home in Sedgeford, near Birmingham, last Wednesday.

The gecko spent two days inside the envelope travelling around 120 miles, before popping out in front of shocked Phillipa Durrant, 44, who had been expecting the parcel to contain a belt she had bought on internet shopping site eBay.

The mother-of-seven, from Finchampstead in Berkshire, took the reptile to the vets where he was given the all clear despite his ordeal.

She said: "My daughter opened the envelope and came running upstairs saying 'There's something alive in the package'.

"I was worried that it might be poisonous but we soon realised it was harmless.

"We decided the best thing to do was to take the gecko to the vets as it was cold and looked a bit limp after its journey."

Mrs Durrant had bought the belt on eBay from Sahara's owner, Lisa Richardson. The package containing the belt had been left near the reptile's tank.

Somehow the gecko had crept inside before the envelope was sealed and put in the post.

Housewife Lisa Richardson, 33, said: "We didn't realise Sahara was missing until we went to feed him later that night.

"There was absolute pandemonium once we realised Sahara was missing, we cut the bottoms of the sofas to see if he was stuck in there, we were up until 2am in the morning looking for him.

"Then the email arrived the next day from Phillipa saying, 'Hi Lisa, received the belt in the post, only one problem - there's a live reptile in the parcel."

The gecko will now be returned to Birmingham via courier.

Vet Chris Queen from the Nine Mile Veterinary Group said: "Sahara was in an absolutely fantastic condition when we examined him considering the ordeal he had gone through.

"He must have been kept quite warm in the package which was well insulated, also the envelope had not been damaged in transit, all of these factors would have helped him, so well done Royal Mail."

But there was a further shock for Mrs Richardson, who had always believed Sahara was a female - the vets confirmed the gecko was actually a male.

Mrs Richardson now intends to rename Sahara "bidders".