Living gekko found hiding in Albert Heijn broccoli package

Live gecko found in Albert Heijn broccoli packet (Photo: Annelies van de Waterbeemd)Live gecko found in Albert Heijn broccoli packet (Photo: Annelies van de Waterbeemd)

A woman who was racing around her kitchen trying to prepare dinner was briefly startled when she found a gecko stowed away inside her shrink-wrapped package of broccoli. The lizard was still alive when Annelies van de Waterbeemd, from Nuenen, Noord-Brabant made the find, she told newspaper Eindhoven Dagblad.

“My husband had already bought it Sunday at the Albert Heijn. When I took the broccoli from the refrigerator a day later I suddenly saw something move,” she said.

Her father took the gecko safely out of the package and released it in the garden. A spokesman for a non-profit organization specializing in reptiles told the newspaper it was possibly the Tarentola mauritanica, a common gecko that frequents the walls of buildings in Spain, where much of Albert Heijn’s broccoli is grown.

A spokesman for Albert Heijn said that produce is rigorously checked by hand, and sometimes mistakes are made. “It may happen that an animal does not stand out, or it knows how to hide well,” he said. “The animal certainly has a strong constitution, since it had sat there for a few days.”