Curious Gecko Slips Into Hawaii Seal Hospital and Makes Dozens of Prank Phone Calls

After discovering the reptile was the one behind the calls, the animal hospital offered it a job

Gecko on phoneCredit: Claire Simeone/The Marine Mammal Center
Photo: Claire Simeone/The Marine Mammal Center

Hawaii News Now is calling it the “most Hawaii thing ever.”

According to the site, a gecko that padded its way on to a touchscreen phone was the accidental culprit behind lots of prank phone calls (or perhaps the little reptile was just trying to spread the word on insurance savings). Either way, the calls were driving Dr. Claire Simeone, the director at the The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, wild.

The vet recounted all the animal craziness in a Twitter thread full of humorous gifs.

Dr. Simeone described in one tweet how it all started: “I started getting calls at our hospital, #KeKaiOla @TMMC. I was getting lunch, so I thought maybe someone had a seal-related question. I picked up. Silence.”

At first the vet didn’t give too much thought to the silent calls, but after getting nine calls from her job in just 15 minutes, she admitted she started to “panic” and rushed back to work.

“I arrive. All is calm. Did anyone call me? No one did. I get another call. It’s coming from INSIDE the hospital. So I call @HawaiianTel to check it out. Phone on the fritz? Meanwhile, several other people call the hospital, asking WHY WE ARE CALLING THEM INCESSANTLY?,” Dr. Simeone wrote in another tweet.

The telephone company confirmed that the call issue was coming from inside the hospital and told the director to look for a line that might be causing problems. So, Dr. Simeone checked the phones at the hospital one by one and when she reached the laboratory she found the issue — though it was likely the last thing she was expecting.

“THERE IS A GECKO SITTING ON THE TOUCHSCREEN OF THE PHONE, MAKING CALLS WITH HIS TINY GECKO FEET!!! This gecko has called me 15 times, and everyone in our recent call list. *Actual photo of telemarketer*” Dr. Simeone posted in a dramatic reveal of what was causing the telecommunications issue.

After her first-hand experience with the gecko’s calling prowess, Dr. Simeone jokingly tweeted that she gave the critter that wandered into her hospital a job. She also thanked Hawaii Telecom for their help and acknowledged all those animal lovers out there who might have received a few dozen phone calls from the new reptile hire.

Dr. Simeone told USA Todaythat geckos are often spotted throughout Hawaii, especially in surprising places, though this phone incident was likely the most unusual sighting for her. While the vet did offer the neon green caller a job, she told the paper the she actually released the gecko back into the wild shortly after finding it.

If you are interested in learning more about the animals Dr. Simeone predominantly helps, monk seals, visit The Marine Mammal Center’s website.

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