High Peak holidaymaker shocked after finding stowaway lizard in their suitcase

The lizard is in good health despite the long journey.
The lizard is in good health despite the long journey.

A High Peak holidaymaker had a shock when they returned home from Thailand - to find a stowaway lizard in their suitcase.

The six-inch lizard, which is a protected species in Thailand, had burrowed inside a suitcase of diving equipment, which was then transported 6,000 miles across the world.

RSPCA Animal Welfare Officer Steve Wickham collected the lizard from the holidaymakers' home in Chapel-en-le-Frith, and took it to a specialist reptile centre, where it was identified as a clouded monitor lizard which can grow up to 1 to 1.5 metres long.

Steve said: “Despite being zipped up in a suitcase for at least 24 hours, the monitor lizard appeared to be in good health. I took the lizard to a specialist exotics centre to be checked over by a vet and cared for, where it ate almost straight away. The long journey must have made them very hungry!”

As the lizard is a protected species in their native country and their commercial use is strictly controlled, permission will now be sought from Defra to allow the lizard to be transferred to a new home in a zoo or wildlife park.

“Thankfully the lizard will now be cared for by experts,” said Steve. “However, this is a timely reminder to people to always check your suitcase, clothes, towels and shoes properly when packing to return home from a trip abroad, as you never quite know what surprising souvenir you might bring home with you!”