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Cheddar, the rare orange lobster, is spared from the menu

Emily Heil

THE WASHINGTON POST – Most crustaceans meet a predictable fate at Red Lobster. But not Cheddar, the bright-orange specimen who is now set to live out her days being oohed over at an aquarium rather than, like so many of her compatriots, being broiled and dipped in butter.

Cheddar, as she was eventually named by the staff of the Red Lobster in Hollywood, Florida, and Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she now resides, first arrived to the restaurant amid a regular shipment. But workers there straightaway pegged her as an unusual specimen. Unlike the typical brownish colour (lobsters aren’t red until they’re cooked), her shell is a bright orange.

They would soon confirm this; scientists said orange lobsters are one in 30 million, mostly because their vibrant colouring makes them so visible to predators.

Mario Roque, a manager at the restaurant, headed up an effort to find her a home, according to the restaurant and aquarium, eventually connecting with the facility. Ripley’s dispatched two members of its husbandry team to the restaurant, a spokeswoman told The Washington Post, where they carefully packed up the lobster and drove her the more than 10 hours to Ripley’s Marine Science Research Centre, the aquarium’s breeding and research facility.

Cheddar the lobster. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

The rescue mission left Ripley’s with a new attraction: The ultrarare lobster is “acclimating” at the centre, which will be open to the public for tours later this month, the spokeswoman said.

Eventually, she will move to the aquarium, which also houses penguins, piranhas, jellyfish, sharks and sea turtles.

It also left the Red Lobster folks with the feeling that they’d done something special for Cheddar, whose name, of course, comes from the chain’s signature biscuits.

Cheddar joins the ranks of other unusually hued lobsters rescued by Red Lobster workers.

Clawdia, a rare female blue lobster, is on display at the Akron Zoo after arriving last year at the seafood chain’s Cuyahoga Falls location. And Freckles, a calico lobster, resides at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News.

She arrived there via the Manassas, Virginia, Red Lobster, whose employees alerted the company and were connected with the Virginia museum after contacting the Akron facility that had adopted Clawdia a few months prior.