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Freckles the rare calico lobster now on exhibit at Virginia Living Museum

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Posted at 8:48 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 20:48:23-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - In May, News 3 introduced you to Freckles, a rare lobster who found a new home at the Virginia Living Museum. Now, you can see him in person this Fourth of July weekend!

Experts say the vibrant orange and black shell pattern challenges these lobsters' survival in the wild since they are no longer able to camouflage with their natural habitat.

The curiously-colored crustacean recently caught the eye of the cooks at a Red Lobster in Manassas, Virginia.

"They saw him and thought, 'This is not normal; this is new and special,'" Britt Sorensen, the museum's training and enrichment coordinator, told us a few months ago.

Special enough to be spared from being served as a meal with the restaurant's famous Cheddar Bay biscuits. Red Lobster called the conservation experts instead.

VLM Senior Director of Animal Welfare and Conservation Chris Crippen and Aquarium Curator Patrycja Lawryniuk then traveled to Manassas on April 29 to bring the lucky lobster to Newport News after a health evaluation.

“We take great pride in our conservation efforts and strive to create strong partnerships in our community. Red Lobster reached out to the AZA network - of which we are a proud member - to provide a home for this rare and beautiful animal.” said Crippen. “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.”

The Virginia Living Museum and Red Lobster are both partners in the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, which is committed to choosing sustainable seafood for healthier oceans, now and for future generations. The Virginia Living Museum wishes to thank Red Lobster and AZA for their part in this crustacean story that has a very happy ending for Freckles, who now survives and thrives on exhibit daily at the Museum.

Also in celebration of the July 4 holiday weekend, the Museum’s Abbitt Planetarium will offer the "Spirit of America" Laser Light Show. "Spirit of America" mixes a laser light show with great patriotic music and America-inspired rock & roll. Rock on to great artists like John Fogerty, Garth Brooks, Lee Greenwood and more. The show is recommended for ages 6 and up. Tickets are $4 in addition to museum admission.

Tickets for Museum admission and the "Spirit of America" show should be purchased in advance online here.