Rare Calico Lobster Rescued From Virginia Red Lobster Restaurant

Freckles was saved by quick-thinking staff at the seafood restaurant.

Jun 2, 2021
Rare Calico Lobster Rescued From Virginia Red Lobster Restaurant | Freckles was saved by quick-thinking staff at the seafood restaurant.

Lobsters look pretty much the same, unless it is one of a few rare varieties. That’s why it was almost unbelievable when a rare calico lobster showed up at a Red Lobster restaurant in Manassas, Virginia as part of a delivery of Maine lobsters on April 25, 2021.

The male calico that was named Freckles by the restaurant team looked so different that they reached out to the Red Lobster support team according to CNN, who confirmed that they had an extremely rare crustacean in their tank.

“Calico-colored lobsters like Freckles are so rare, it was almost unbelievable that we received one," a spokesperson from Red Lobster told CNN. "We are so proud of our employees for recognizing that Freckles was so special – and for reaching out so we could make arrangements for rescue.”

Calico lobsters have an orange and black freckled shell and are the third rarest lobsters according to the spokesperson. Only split-colored and albino lobsters are rarer. In fact, the chance of catching a calico is only 1 in 30 million. 

“Calico-colored lobsters like Freckles are so rare because their coloring makes them very visible and thus vulnerable to predators,” the spokesperson said. “Because a calico-colored lobster is so rare and vulnerable in the wild, it was important that we found him a good home versus setting him free in the wild where he likely would not survive.”

The red lobster team looked for a safe place for Freckles and called the Association of Zoos and Aquariums who chose the Virginia Living Museum (VLM) in Newport News for him to live safely in captivity and not end up being eaten by a predator or ending up on a dinner plate.

Chris Crippen, director of VLM and Patrycja Lawryniuk, the aquarium curator, traveled to Manassas  a few days later to retrieve Freckles from the restaurant’s live lobster tank. Upon arrival, he was evaluated and quarantined according to a VLM press release. This lucky lobster will soon go on exhibit to the public.

Freckles is not the first rare lobster  spotted by quick-thinking Red Lobster team members. In 2020, a rare blue lobster was discovered in the Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio restaurant. The female lobster was named Clawde – later changed to Clawdia when her sex was determined – after Red Lobster’s mascot. She now resides in the Ohio Akron Zoo. Cheers to the restaurant teams that saved these rare catches that will get to live out their lives in safe spaces.

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Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.