A “happy-go-lucky” father died 10 days after eating a gecko for a dare at a party.
David Dowell, 34, contracted a salmonella infection after downing the lizard as part of a bet.
His grief-stricken family today described him as a loving dad and the “life of the party”.
“I don’t think there was anyone who met him who didn’t love the person he was,” said Allira Bricknell, his distraught partner.
Allira, from Brisbane, Australia, called David the “best dad”.
“I want to remember the happy times.
“I am really concerned about our three children, I want to protect them.
“It was just a big shock and it still is a big shock.”
The dare happened during a Christmas party at a home and devastated pals.
Allira, who had dated David since she was 18 after meeting on a beach, continued: “We don’t know 100 per cent how he passed but on the actual death certificate, it did say ingestion of a gecko so I’m assuming it was that.
“He was very arty, very crafty.
“He was a great person, he was the best person I have ever met, he was the best dad to our children.”
But the grieving partner warned others against similar stunts for dares or bets.
“I don’t want people harassing us because of this,” she said.
And Hannah Dowell, David’s sister, said her sibling was severely sick in hospital after the dare.
He was then diagnosed with the salmonella, a food-borne bacteria which typically causes patients to suffer through days of diarrhoea, stomach cramps and fever.
His lungs also started to fill with fluid and fluid leaked from his stomach, Brisbane Times says.
“(Allira) told the doctor and the doctor said, ‘That [the gecko] could have been it’,” Hannah said.