Saturday 23 September 2017

Lizard endures washing machine spin

Larry the lizard survived a 3,500-mile flight and a spin in the washing machine (Tropiquaria Wildlife Park)
Larry the lizard survived a 3,500-mile flight and a spin in the washing machine (Tropiquaria Wildlife Park)

A rare lizard survived a 3,000-mile flight in a freezing cold luggage hold only to then be put through the wash by an unsuspecting holidaymaker.

Company director Sue Banwell-Moore had returned from a holiday in the Cape Verde islands with a friend when she found the brown 6in (15.2cm) long Chioninia lizard among her washing.

Ms Banwell-Moore said after the initial shock, she realised it must have stowed away in her suitcase and travelled all the way back to her house in Churchinford, near Taunton, Somerset.

She said she has since grown rather fond of the lizard, which she has named Larry.

"I got home on the Tuesday and it was snowy in the Blackdown Hills, and we got back in the early hours of the morning so it wasn't until the next day when I did a couple loads of washing that I found him," she said.

"I put the first lot out and then when I put the second lot out on to the clothes horse to dry, I looked down and there was this lizard on the floor. It was just sort of there. I did scream, I was just so shocked, I couldn't believe how it had got there, on my floor, and was wondering if it was going to run all around the room.

"I phoned my daughter and said 'I've got a lizard on my floor', and I was screaming and she was just screaming but with laughter. I touched it and it didn't move - it was very cold - and I thought maybe it was dead."

After covering the lizard with a saucepan for her son to pick up later, she took a "little peek" and to her surprise found he had moved.

She added that while on the island of Sal - one of the most northerly of the islands off the western coast of Africa - she had only ever seen one lizard.

Larry has now completed the last part of his journey - 25 miles from Churchinford to the Tropiquaria Wildlife Park in Watchet, where he will spend the rest of his days.

Press Association

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