A discarded can turned into a big adventure for a forest gecko found in Napier last week.
The gecko was found at a scrap metal yard in Onekawa and staff contacted the National Aquarium to find out what to do next.
Aquarium manager Rob Yarrell said the organisation often received calls from members of the public about animals they found, especially when it was something they had on display.
"It's very good they decided to follow up on it," he said. "They wanted to make sure it would be looked after."
The National Aquarium identified it as a forest gecko and contacted the Department of Conservation. The aquarium did have some captive geckos but it was illegal to keep wild geckos.
DOC detective work traced its origin to beer cans dumped on Waipunga Rd, north of Napier.
Neither organisation knew there were forest geckos in that area.
DOC biodiversity manager Bryan Welsh said the lizards were "cryptic", meaning they hid very well, so it was hard to know where exactly they lived until they were found.The endemic lizard, or moko pirirakau, was not commonly found in urban areas but occasionally arrived in town on loads of firewood.
DOC ranger Hans Rook took the gecko home to recover from his visit to the big city.