We reckon there are two ways to play the exotic animal smuggling game.
1. Only smuggle hard-to-identify exotic animals, like a bug that looks pretty much the same as its British counterpart but is worth ££££. That way, if you do get caught you can be like: ‘What are you talking about? This is just an ordinary beetle!’
2. Only smuggle badass animals like leopards, crocodiles and dragons. Then if you get caught, you can be like: ‘HEAR ME ROARRRR, AIRPORT SECURITY!’ as you unleash your animal army in passport control.
For these reasons, bright turquoise dwarf geckos would probably not be top of our smuggling list. Not only are they, er, bright blue and therefore pretty damn easy to identify, they’re also near impossible to be scared of. (Look at his little face!)
But, more than 160 of the rare lizards were seized by border force officers at Heathrow’s terminal four last month (don’t worry, they’re now getting well looked after). Officers also found 136 bearded pygmy chameleons, 112 peacock tree frogs, 192 whip scorpions and 66 yellow-headed geckos on the same consignment, so the luggage compartment of that aircraft must have been like some kind of animal party bus.
The geckos are critically endangered and are only found in two locations in Tanzania. It’s thought they might have been brought over to be sold on the black market. (Quick question: who’s buying GECKOS on the black market? Get a new hobby guys.) A potential smuggler has now been arrested under suspicion of an importation offence.
In all seriousness, he should have known this was a bad idea from the gecko.