Rare orange lobsters saved from becoming dinner at two Red Lobster restaurants

It seems lightning — or at least orange lobsters — can strike twice at Red Lobster restaurants.

This summer, the restaurant giant saved not one, but two rare orange lobsters from becoming dinner at its restaurants in the United States. First in Hollywood, Florida and now, at a restaurant in Meridian, Mississippi.

Orange lobsters are thought to be perhaps one-in-30-million.

“Orange lobsters are uncommon but perhaps not as rare as we first thought,” Jared Durrett, director of husbandry at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, said in a statement.

“Lobsters obtain their color through the pigments they ingest in their diet. If these orange lobsters are being harvested from the same region, perhaps their localized diet contains a pigment that, when paired with the lobster’s genetics, creates the orange coloration we are seeing,” Durrett added.

On Monday, an orange lobster arrived in a shipment to the Mississippi restaurant. Staff named it Biscuit, after the company’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

Biscuit arrived in a shipment of lobster to a Red Lobster in Mississippi. Photo: Red Lobster

In July, one was found in a box of lobsters bound for the dinner table in the one of the company’s Florida eateries.

Staff immediately recognized it as beautiful and unique and called Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach to see if it would take the rare crustacean.

Fittingly, they named it Cheddar, also after the chain’s famous biscuits, and, well, appearance.

Cheddar was saved from ending up in a boiling pot. Photo: Red Lobster

“Sometimes ordinary miracles happen, and Cheddar is one of them,” Mario Roque, the manager at Red Lobster who led the rescue of Cheddar, said in a statement in July. “A group of incredible people helped us make this possible. We are so honored to have been able to save Cheddar and find her a good home.”

“We are incredibly proud of Mario and the team for recognizing what a special and rare creature Cheddar is and for working relentlessly to find someone to rescue her,” Nicole Bott, Red Lobster, spokesperson said. Photo: Red Lobster

Meanwhile, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is taking Biscuit.

In fact, another Ripley’s Aquarium, this time in Canada, took two other orange lobsters named Pinchy and Mr. Nimbus, which were saved from two different grocery stores in Ontario last year.

What are the chances?

The University of Maine’s Lobster Institute notes lobsters come in all kinds of unusual hues.

Ripley’s Aquariums is setting out to study these unique animals to better understand the orange anomaly since lobsters are typically darker in appearance to blend in with the ocean floor.

“We plan to dive deeper into this and study the reasons why this abnormality is occurring more often. Our partnership with Red Lobster will allow us to capture data from fishermen, which typically is not easy to come by due to confidentiality,” Durrett explained.

Meantime, Red Lobster confirmed both Biscuit and Cheddar came from the same fishing area and that fishermen are seeing a lot of orange lobsters this time of year, which might suggest creatures are eating the same food source that is turning them orange.

“As one of the largest restaurant companies in the world, we see a lot of lobsters. And, on the rare occasion we receive a lobster like Biscuit, we have to ask why?” Nicole Bott, the company’s spokesperson said in a statement.

“We’re excited to support Ripley’s research into this and learn more about our changing lobster populations,” she added.

About the author

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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