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A happy ending - and a new home - for a rare 1-in-30-million Calico shellfish that almost became a Red Lobster dinner

INSIDER logo INSIDER 5/10/2021 cteh@businessinsider.com (Cheryl Teh)
Freckles the Calico lobster was fished out of a Red Lobster in Virginia. The company donated the crustacean to the Virginia Living Museum, a marine exhibit. Red Lobster © Provided by INSIDER Freckles the Calico lobster was fished out of a Red Lobster in Virginia. The company donated the crustacean to the Virginia Living Museum, a marine exhibit. Red Lobster
  • Staff at a Red Lobster outlet in Virginia saved a special shellfish from becoming someone's dinner.
  • The rare orange and black speckled Calico lobster is a one-in-30-million find.
  • The lobster, named "Freckles," has found a new home at the Virginia Living Museum's marine exhibit.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A rare, one-in-30-million Calico lobster nearly ended up on the chopping block at a Red Lobster outlet in Virginia.

But sharp-eyed staff members saved Freckles the lobster from ending up in a pot when they saw his rare coloring and spotted shell.

According to CNN, Freckles arrived at the restaurant in Manassas, Virginia, on April 25, in a shipment from Maine. Employees unpacking the lobsters, however, thought Freckles might be a rare find, and contacted the restaurant chain's support team for verification.

In a tweet last week, the restaurant chain announced that Freckles will be given a new home at a marine exhibit in Virginia - which hosts a zoo, aquarium, and science center.

"We donated this cool crustacean to the Virginia Living Museum, where we hope he lives a long and wonderful life," Red Lobster wrote in the tweet.


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According to a statement from the Virginia Living Museum, only one out of every 30 million lobsters found in the world has this coloring. Such lobsters rarely survive in the wild, as their vibrant colors make them easy prey.

"We take great pride in our conservation efforts and strive to create strong partnerships in our community. Red Lobster reached out to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums network - of which we are a proud member - to provide a home for this rare and beautiful animal," said Chris Crippen, senior director of animal welfare and conservation at the museum, in the statement.

Freckles will be displayed in the museum's Chesapeake Bay gallery after he completes a quarantine period to make sure he is healthy.

"We see this as an opportunity to share nature's anomaly with guests, as well as continue important education about sustainable seafood practices and significant conservation efforts of the American lobster fishery," Crippen added.

There are other forms of rare lobsters that people should look out for and refrain from eating.

The Washington Post spoke to invertebrate expert Ellen Goethel, who highlighted ultra-rare finds like split lobsters (half-orange, half-brown crustaceans) and albino lobsters.

One has a one-in-50-million chance of catching a split lobster, while albino lobsters are a one-in-100 million catch.

CNN reported last year that a unique blue lobster was also found at another Red Lobster outlet when an employee spotted it in a shipment. That lobster, known as "Clawde," was sent to the Akron Zoo in Ohio, where he resides in a tank dubbed "Clawde's Man Cave."

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