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“Freckles” the Lobster is 1 in 30 Million!

Red Lobster donates Rare Calico Lobster to Virginia Living Museum

Newport News, VA (May 4, 2021) – A call went out to members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) from the Red Lobster Seafood Restaurant in Manassas, Virginia when restaurant staff discovered a very unique spotted shell.

Identified as a Calico Lobster, the large marine crustacean has a striking orange and black speckled shell as do only 1 of every 30 million lobsters in the world. Restaurant staff named their discovery “Freckles” due to its appearance, and decided it needed a home fitting it’s unique colors.

Enter Virginia Living Museum’s Senior Director of Animal Welfare and Conservation, Chris Crippen. “We take great pride in our conservation efforts and strive to create strong partnerships in our community. Red Lobster reached out to the AZA network – of which we are a proud member – to provide a home for this rare and beautiful animal.” said Crippen. “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.”

Calico lobsters seldom survive in the wild because their bright colors make them susceptible to predators. Crippen and Aquarium Curator, Patrycja Lawryniuk traveled to Manassas last Thursday, April 29, 2021 to retrieve the lucky lobster. He was collected from the restaurant’s live lobster tank. After a health evaluation, “Freckles” was transported by van to his new home in Newport News. Once a short period of evaluation and quarantine is completed, he will go on exhibit to the public as a welcome addition to the Museum’s Chesapeake Bay Gallery.

The Virginia Living Museum and Red Lobster are both partners in the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, which is committed to choosing sustainable seafood for healthier oceans, now and for future generations. The Virginia Living Museum wishes to thank Red Lobster and AZA for their part in this crustacean story that has a very happy ending.

The Virginia Living Museum is a leader in the use of natural living exhibits (animals, plants, marine life, reptiles, amphibians, and birds) to present its mission—connecting people to nature through educational experiences that promote conservation. An independent 501c3 organization, the Museum is a successful public/private partnership with the City of Newport News and all guests. Accredited by both the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Alliance of Museums, the Museum’s high standards are its hallmark, as only fourteen institutions share this designation in the country. It is a certified Virginia Green attraction dedicated to environmentally friendly practices. Located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News (I-64, exit 258-A) it is open 9 to 5 daily.




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