If you got incessant phone calls last week from a hospital that cares for Hawaiian monk seals, you were butt-dialed.
Or, more specifically, foot-dialed.
By a gecko.
Marine mammal veterinarian Claire Simeone was at lunch when she got a call from Ke Kai Ola, the Big Island hospital where she’s director. There was silence on the other end. Nine more silent calls followed. Fearing a seal emergency, she rushed back.
She wasn’t the only one getting calls, and people started asking why the hospital was calling non-stop.
Trying to figure out why a “bazillion” calls were made from one line, she called the phone company and a rep tried to talk her through finding a possible line on the fritz. She walked into a lab and found the culprit. The 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.
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* @TMMC @GEICO @HawaiianTel pic.twitter.com/USyKeOiDbE
— Dr. Claire Simeone (@Claire_Simeone) October 5, 2018
“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.”