Gecko butt-dials ‘bazillion’ times from Kona monk seal hospital

  • This photo provided by The Marine Mammal Center hospital director Claire Simeone shows a gecko on a phone at the center in Kailua Kona. (Clair Simeone/The Marine Mammal Center via AP)

HONOLULU — If you got incessant phone calls last week from a hospital that cares for Hawaiian monk seals, you were butt-dialed.

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 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 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.”

  1. Bond October 9, 2018 5:17 pm

    that is not a gecko but an invasive species a common chamilion that eats butterflys and other natural lizards-these idiots at the news paper ought to know the diffidence-look it up on the UH invasive species website

    1. ypupule October 9, 2018 5:58 pm

      Try looking up “gold dust day gecko.” Pretty sure that’s what it is…

      1. Pest Outwest October 9, 2018 8:00 pm

        How could anyone living here not know exactly what that jewel of an animal is, and where it came from? His own cite doesn’t even list the gecko, or a “chamilion” (sic). Who’s the idiot?

        In fact, there appears to be little information online that refers to this beautiful animal as “invasive”. To be sure, it was imported, but it’s not clear it’s doing any harm. It certainly charms visitors and residents alike.

    2. Chickie Galore October 10, 2018 6:55 pm

      You are invasive me thinks. And as YP said, Its a gold dust gecko from Madagascar and no, it is not a “common chameleon”, which is a lizard. Smoke up brah! And, prey tell, do you even know what is indigenous or endemic? You should complain about the cats and mongoose since you have the time. They eat a lot more than butterflies and BTW, there are no geckos (which are not lizards) that are indigenous to Hawaii. They all came from somewhere else. But I am sure you knew that. Right? Drop you Iphone and pick up a book sometime.

      1. Pest Outwest October 11, 2018 1:29 am

        Okay . . . but geckos are lizards. I don’t think you need a book, try Google.

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