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'Freckles' saved from a Red Lobster in Manassas finds new home at Virginia Living Museum
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'Freckles' saved from a Red Lobster in Manassas finds new home at Virginia Living Museum

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Employees at a Red Lobster Seafood Restaurant in Manassas had one shell of a lucky find.

“Freckles,” a rare Calico Lobster, was going to be lunch. But restaurant staff noticed its unusual colors — an orange and black speckled shell — that only 1 of every 30 million lobsters in the world has.

Restaurant staff called members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Enter the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, which swooped in to offer an alternative to the steam pot.

“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,” Chris Crippen, the Virginia Living Museum’s senior director of animal welfare and conservation, said in a news release.

Crippen said the lobster is a “rare and beautiful animal.”

The coloring is a result of a problem with the lobster’s DNA coding, according to Save The Bay, a nonprofit organization devoted to protecting the Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. The cells in the lobster’s body don’t create pigments that would help it to camouflage.

Which means calico lobsters can attract predators. Which means they don’t last long.

Freckles was kept in the restaurant’s live lobster tank until Virginia Living Museum could perform a health evaluation and bring him to Newport News.

The lobster will quarantine before joining the museum’s Chesapeake Bay Gallery.

Red Lobster and the Virginia Living Museum are both parts of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, which partners with businesses, governments, organizations and consumers worldwide to promote sustainable fishing and aquaculture.

Jessica Nolte, 757-912-1675,

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