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3:40 AM Mon, Dec. 10th

Gecko butt-dials 'bazillion' times from Hawaii seal hospital

This photo provided by The Marine Mammal Center hospital director Claire Simeone shows a gecko on a phone Oct. 3, 2018, at the center in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. The gecko is the culprit in making numerous calls in the phones' recent call history with his tiny feet. (Clair Simeone/The Marine Mammal Center via AP)

This photo provided by The Marine Mammal Center hospital director Claire Simeone shows a gecko on a phone Oct. 3, 2018, at the center in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. The gecko is the culprit in making numerous calls in the phones' recent call history with his tiny feet. (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."