MANASSAS, VA — A rare calico colored lobster was discovered at a Red Lobster restaurant in Manassas. Calico lobsters are considered the third rarest lobsters in the world; only 1 in 30 million lobsters have calico coloring, according to a Red Lobster spokesperson.
Red Lobster donated the animal, affectionately called Freckles, to the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News. There, Freckles will join other animals as part of the museum’s mission to educate visitors about the animals and habitats that are native to Virginia.
“Calico-colored lobsters like Freckles are so rare, it was almost unbelievable that we received one,” a Red Lobster spokesperson said. “We are so proud of our employees for recognizing how special Freckles is, and for reaching out so we could make arrangements for rescue.”
Chris Crippen is the Virginia Living Museum’s senior director of animal welfare and conservation. Last Thursday, he drove to the Manassas Red Lobster with Patrycja Lawryniuk, the aquarium’s curator, to bring Freckles back to his new home at the museum.
“We take great pride in our conservation efforts and strive to create strong partnerships in our community,” Crippen said. “We see this as an opportunity to not only educate the public about the rare color scheme of this particular animal but also about sustainable seafood practices and the importance of conservation efforts of the American lobster fishery.”
Calico lobsters rarely survive in the wild, according to the museum. Their unique coloring makes them more susceptible to predators. The Virginia Living Museum gives a home to animals like Freckles that would not be able to survive on their own in the wild.
After Red Lobster employees noticed his rare color, Freckles was saved from the dinner menu and kept in the restaurant’s live lobster tank in their lobby. Now, Freckles is undergoing a health evaluation at the Virginia Living Museum. After his quarantine is complete, he will be displayed in the museum’s aquarium for the public.
The Virginia Living Museum is non-profit organization that uses natural living exhibits to educate the public about conservation efforts and native habitats. More information about the museum, their programs, and their exhibits is available on their website.