Marine experts at a Dorset aquarium are breathing again after their one-in-a-hundred million albino lobster moulted…and turned out all white again!
The incredible crustacean was given to Weymouth Sea Life Park by an astonished Bridport fishermen just before Christmas 2011…and was immediately christened Santa Claws.
He has since enjoyed exclusive occupancy of a large pool in the Centre’s outdoor rockpool feature.
“It was odds on his new coat would still be white, but when an animal is as rare as this one there’s always that anxious feeling that maybe his white shell was a one-off aberration and the next one would be the normal bluey-grey,” said Curator Fiona Smith.
Happily Santa, who has put on a couple of centimetres growth since his arrival, hence his need for a snugger fitting coat, appears to be a genuine lifelong albino.
Aquarist John Elliott could not resist letting Santa pose for a souvenir shot, looking at his old self.
“Lobsters manage to squeeze out of their shell leaving everything intact, even the claws,” said John
“So now we can put his old suit on display and use it to amaze visitors with when we’re showing off Santa and passing on a few secrets of lobster biology.”
There is a brief period after shedding their shells when lobsters are soft-bodied and vulnerable to attack, so they usually fine a handy hole to hide in until their new shell hardens.
Happily for Santa, in his private submarine bachelor pad, there was no such danger.
Unhappily for his proud keepers however, Santa is cultivating an ugly growth of algae on the rear portion of his shell, and has made it patently clear with a few vicious swipes of hi bolt-cutter claws…that he objects to any attempt to brush it clean!