The bizarre discovery was made by a doctor in Darwin as he made dinner earlier this week.
Peter Beaumont broke open an egg and was shocked to find a dead gecko inside. “I was cracking the eggs into a pan when I noticed one of them was all cloudy. I looked at the shell and saw a tiny gecko,” he said.
Dr Beaumont believes the lizard climbed into the chicken’s bottom, perhaps to feed on an embryo, before dying and becoming cocooned in the developing egg. “Eggs are made inside chooks up this tube from their bottom,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“Now obviously this tube is in contact with the whole outside world. It has to be that the gecko climbed up inside the chook and died up there while the egg was being formed.
“If you open up a dead chook, you sometimes see the partly-formed eggs. The gecko could have been looking for a feed and got trapped.”
Dr Beaumont, 60, the president of the Australian Medical Association in the Northern Territory, said his unusual find could be a world first.
He has handed the remains of the egg to health authorities who will try to work out exactly how the gecko got inside the egg.
The Australian Egg Corporation said it had never heard of such a case before.
“Certainly the gecko wouldn’t have been ingested by the bird. It would be physically impossible for it to make its way from the digestive tract into the area where the egg’s formed,” said the corporation’s research and development manager, David Witcombe.
“So it’s a case of the gecko actually making its way through the cloaca of the bird and onto the developing egg.”
That sounds uncomfortable.