The one-in-two million crustacean will hopefully be on display to visitors in the future.

By Mike Pomranz
July 28, 2020
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It has all the makings of children’s book (though I’m not sure what the moral would be): A lucky crustacean went from the kitchen at Red Lobster to fancy new digs at the Akron Zoo all thanks to her spectacular blue shell which was deemed to be a one-in-two million rarity. Plus, you can’t serve a blue lobster at Red Lobster, can you?

On Sunday, the Ohio zoo announced on Facebook that they had “adopted a rare blue American lobster from a Red Lobster after restaurant employees recognized the rarity of the blue shell.” After spotting the animal—which NPR later revealed was female—the Red Lobster team from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, named their new blue buddy Clawde after the chain’s mascot, then contacted the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which runs the Seafood Watch conservation program. Both Red Lobster and the Akron Zoo are partners in that program, so the Monterey Bay Aquarium put the two groups in touch, landing Clawde a new home.

Courtesy of Akron Zoo

Vince Jeffries, director of marketing and public relations for the Akron Zoo, told me via email that, not only is this the first blue lobster the zoo has had, it’s also the first cold water lobster the zoo has acquired. “We have Slipper lobsters at the Akron Zoo, and we have had other warm water lobsters,” he said.

On Facebook, the zoo added, “Clawde now resides in our Komodo Kingdom building, which is currently closed to guests due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” However, Jeffries said that, assuming things go well and Clawde is able to adjust and survive, she’ll make her public debut in the not-too-distant future.

“This is a really vulnerable time due to the travel and move. If she has a successful molt in September or October that would be a good sign, and she could be shown in a habitat for guests to see,” Jeffries told me. “[It’s] encouraging to see that the lobster is moving rocks around in her aquarium creating her own cave. She also dined on shrimp on Saturday.” That's quite the comeback for a creature that was saved from a seafood chain.

Though blue lobsters are certainly rare, their stories tend to garner plenty of media attention, meaning they are far from unheard of: In fact, one lobsterman has even caught two in his lifetime. Additionally, other shell colors are considered even more unlikely: Yellow lobsters are believed to be a one-in-30 million chance, as are calico lobsters. Split-colored lobsters have been called one-in-50 million catches, and both cotton candy lobsters and ghost lobsters have had their odds pegged at one-in-100 million.