THE owner of a tropical house is trying to ascertain how a gecko turned up in a box of ornamental stone in Stogumber.

Chris Moiser, of Watchet's Tropiquaria, got a call from a man in the village saying he had discovered the reptile in a crate that had come from India.

But Chris and his staff are struggling to identify what type of gecko it is.

He said: "Although most big zoos do not do this kind of work, we do where we can.

"We attend and collect accidentally imported small reptiles and amphibians.

"From our point of view it makes our expertise available to the local community, and means that we often have a challenge in identifying the animal.

"Occasionally we also find something that is quite interesting and not often seen in captivity.

"This particular lizard is one of a genera called Hemidactylus - unfortunately there are over 150 species within the group, and some still to be described, so identifying them without knowing the exact origin is potentially very difficult.

"We also have the problem that the stone may have been shipped via a third country, where again, if it was waiting on the dockside for onward shipping, a local lizard may have climbed aboard."