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Little lizard gives up on a very long lunch

By David Eames

Meet the leopard gecko with a tiger of an appetite.

When staff at Ti Point Reptile Park, near Leigh, noticed what appeared to be the back legs of a cricket sticking out of the 150mm gecko's mouth, they assumed the creature had just finished a hearty meal of one of its favourite foods.

However, a closer inspection revealed that the ravenous reptile had just devoured a "relatively large" centipede and was having a little trouble swallowing.

Staff decided it was too risky to attempt to remove the centipede so the 10-year-old gecko was left alone to try to digest her meal in peace.

When they returned next day, they found she had managed to regurgitate - in one piece - the obstructive centipede, which at 160mm was longer than her.

Ti Point owner and director Ivan Borich said the gecko was lucky to have got the centipede first, as the insect's mighty mandibles were capable of killing a small lizard.

"It could have killed that [gecko], no trouble."

Mr Borich said a combination of poor eyesight and even poorer intelligence might explain the gecko attempting to eat a creature longer than itself.

"I have the impression they are not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

"When you go in to feed them, they will go for your foot rather than the food you are bringing tothem."

Despite, literally, biting off more than she could chew, the gecko - a native of Asia Minor - appears to have suffered no ill effects, though staff are hoping she will be a little more cautious about her dinner choices in future.

- NZ Herald

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