image image

Offbeat

A gecko – no joke – placed a ‘bazillion’ phone calls from a marine hospital in Hawaii

Tiny emerald green gecko with dexterous feet had access to a landline phone with a touch screen

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2018, 9:05am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2018, 9:05am

Veterinary surgeon and seal expert Claire Simeone was just about to settle down and enjoy her lunch when her mobile phone rang.

Work was calling, and as director of the Marine Mammal Centre’s Ke Kai Ola Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Simeone picked up immediately.

“As a veterinary surgeon, I’m really on call for any type of questions or emergencies that come through,” she told The Washington Post, noting that the hospital was administering care to four endangered Hawaiian monk seals.

But when Simeone answered her phone Wednesday, she was greeted not by a member of her staff calling with an urgent seal-related question. Instead, she was met with complete silence. No breathing, not even a crackle of static.

In the span of 15 minutes, Simeone’s phone rang nine times, each call identical – all from the same number, and all eerily silent.

“The first thing I thought was that there was some kind of an emergency because I started getting call after call in really rapid succession,” she said.

She wasn’t the only one getting calls, and people started asking why the hospital was calling non-stop.

Trying figure out why a “bazillion” calls were made from one line, she called the phone company and a representative tried to talk her through finding a possible bad line.

She then went to the lab and found the culprit.

A gecko was perched on a phone, making calls to everyone in the recent call history with “HIS TINY GECKO FEET,” she wrote in a Twitter thread the next day, detailing the saga.

Social media delighted in the tale and some people offered jokes about a certain company’s gecko calling to save you money on your car insurance.

After discovering the mystery caller, Simeone caught the gecko and put it outside on a plant, she said Tuesday.

“If there’s a little gecko that helps us share the story of conservation, then that’s a win,” she said of the work she does caring for the endangered seals.

“I think people needed a little pick me up with the news cycle.”

The Washington Post and Associated Press