Gecko foot-dials ‘bazillion’ times from Hawaii seal hospital

HONOLULU (AP) — If you got incessant phone calls last week from a hospital that cares for Hawaiian monk seals, you were dialled accidentally.

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 on Tuesday.

“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.”

Photo provided by The Marine Mammal Center Hospital Director Claire Simeone shows a gecko on a phone at the centre in Kailua Kona, Hawaii on October 3. The gecko is the culprit in making numerous calls in the phones’ recent call history with his tiny feet. – AP