A massive lobster – which measures close to a metre in length – has been saved from the pot by a Devon fish merchant and donated to Bristol Aquarium.
The giant crustacean, which tips the scales at 4.5 kilogrammes and could be more than 50 years old, was given to the Harbourside aquarium by a Kingsbridge fish merchant.
It was hauled up in lobster pots off Plymouth and had been destined for the Spanish market.
However due to its extraordinary dimensions – including hand-sized claws – it was deemed too old and too special to be eaten and was donated to the aquarium.
Now the giant lobster is looking forward to a peaceful retirement in the aquarium’s massive native marine display.
Curator Dan de Castro said: “Patrick is a truly impressive specimen. He is in fantastic condition with a bright blue body and a red-coloured claw.
“In spite of his age and his size the lobster appears to be in truly excellent condition. His claws are so large that he can hardly hold them up when he is out of the water and you need to be careful when you handle him.
“There are many lobster-sized hiding places in the display and he will be able to live out the remainder of his days in very comfortable surroundings, with a regular supply of fresh food and be forever safe from the pot!” he added.
Lobsters are among the planet’s oldest inhabitants with fossil remains found dating back more than 100 million years. They are also extremely long-lived with some individuals reaching ages in excess of 60 years.
A lobster’s claws grow much faster than the rest of its body. In one giant specimen the claws were twice the weight of the rest of the animal.
As with most members of the crustacean family, lobsters are also able to re-grow lost limbs and even re-generate missing eyes.
The heaviest recorded crustacean is an Atlantic lobster nicknamed Mike who was caught in 1934 and tipped the scales at an awesome 19kg.
Issued by Bristol Aquarium. For more information and to arrange interviews and picture opportunities please contact Dan de Castro on 0117 934 0943 or David Waines on 0117 934 0944.