Answer your phone and only hear silence and you might assume it is a pocket call. No big deal. But if that happens nine times in less than 15 minutes, you might start to panic. You may even start to think it's some kind of horror movie-like scenario or (perhaps less obviously) a "seal emergency" – as was the case for Dr Claire Simeone, hospital director at Ke Kai Ola, a marine mammal center in Hawaii.
Fortunately, it was neither of those things. The real culprit? A prank-calling gecko. Simeone described the strange encounter in a Twitter thread.
It all began last Friday when Simeone was on her lunch break. Her phone started to ring so thinking it might be someone with a seal-related question, she picked up. She was met with silence. The phone started to ring again. More silence.
A quick succession of calls followed but no one seemed to be on the other end. After the ninth call in 15 minutes, Simeone started to panic and drove back to the hospital. "Seal emergency? I'm on it," she wrote. But when she got there, the hospital was calm. No seal emergency in sight.
Then, she gets another call. More silence. Now, she realizes it comes from "INSIDE" the hospital...
Meanwhile, people are calling the hospital because they too are receiving some very strange calls and wanted to know "WHY [the hospital was] CALLING THEM INCESSANTLY?"
Thinking there may be some technological glitch, Simeone called up the hospital's telephone provider. A technician on the other end confirmed that "yes, a bazillion calls are coming from one line" and asked her to find out which telephone line was causing the problem.
After checking the office, the fish kitchen, and the viewing room, she found the faulty line – the mysterious calls were coming from the laboratory. But it was not because of some technological malfunction. Oh no. Instead, the culprit was actually a little reptilian prankster using his "TINY GECKO FEET" to cause all this mischief, presumably unwittingly.
After calling the technician to explain the real source of the problem and sending a note to staff and volunteers who may have been unsuspecting victims of the prank calls, Simeon said she "immediately hired gecko". Though she has not yet specified what his new role will entail.
This is not the first gecko to be spotted causing trouble in an unusual place. Last year, a man found one hiding in his ear. Nope, we're not making that one up.