For the millions of people who use public transport, leaving something behind is usually a frustrating experience. Not only is there the shock that your iPod is now traveling around the city without you, there’s the fear that you’ll never see it again.

Finding the Lost & Found Office can be a trip in itself, but since the MTA in Los Angeles has recently upgraded their building at the junction of Wilshire and La Brea, it seemed time to have a look through their shelves and find out what people leave in their wake.

The MTA doesn’t release official figures, and although some of the finds are predictable – cell phones, keys, wallets and eyeglasses – some others can be on the wild side. Things that have been left on Metro bus or rail include dentures, prostheses, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks and crutches. You really would think people would notice those things were missing, like, immediately.

Public transport is a poor and controversial second to four wheels in Los Angeles, but in London, where the vast majority of commuters, locals and tourists will use a red bus, the train or subway, Lost Property is somewhat of a national obsession.

Around 700 items end up at the Lost Property Office (LPO) on Baker Street every single day, and over the last few years the haul has been far more varied than Los Angeles, although there are still plenty of keys, umbrellas, eye glasses and cameras lost in London as well.

False teeth, prostheses and crutches gather dust too, but there’s also been a lawnmower, a stuffed eagle, a blow-up doll, water skis, a Tibetan bell, a gas mask, a jar of bull’s sperm and even a four-meter boat.

Regardless of shape or size, all these items are logged onto Sherlock, the appropriately named internal computer system at the LPO, and last year saw nearly 148,000 items hit the memory banks.

As with all Lost & Found/Lost Property offices, forgetful owners have a limited amount of time to claim their property, although staff are usually soft-hearted: items that clearly have a huge sentimental meaning, such as military medals, are kept for longer.

Finally, there’s something for the creepy freaks: at the LPO in London they have a lost human skull, three dead bats neatly arranged in a box, and recently staff reunited a man with an urn containing his brother’s ashes.

Contact the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Lost & Found at (323) 937-8920.