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Meet Cheddar: Red Lobster workers rescue rare orange lobster

Cheddar was relocated to her new permanent home at Ripley's Aquarium of Myrtle Beach.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Some Red Lobster workers in Hollywood, Florida, were going through their latest shipment when they found a lobster that wasn't, well...red.

This crustacean was a bright orange color, which certainly stood out against the typical brownish-green lobsters that come in. Lobsters typically only turn bright red after they're cooked.

In fact, orange lobsters are said to be one-in-30 million. According to OdySea Aquarium in Arizona, orange lobsters are more likely to live much longer in an aquarium than they would in the wild, where their bright shells would make them an easy target for predators, compared to their mud-colored counterparts. 

Right away, the restaurant workers knew this gal was too special to end up on a plate next to the seaside shrimp trio, so they set her aside. They even aptly named her "Cheddar" — an ode to her unique color and the chain's signature cheddar bay biscuits.

Credit: Red Lobster

“Sometimes ordinary miracles happen, and Cheddar is one of them,” said Mario Roque, a manager at Red Lobster who led the rescue of Cheddar. “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.”

That home is Ripley's Aquarium of Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.

The aquarium sent its husbandry team down to the South Florida restaurant to carefully pack Cheddar up and bring her to its marine science research center. 

A spokesperson for Ripley’s Aquarium said the rare orange lobster will stay in the "state-of-the-art quarantine and research facility" until she's fully acclimated. Visitors will be able to see Cheddar at the research center starting July 20.

This isn't the first time a group of Red Lobster workers has rescued a rare lobster from becoming a meal.

In 2020, a Red Lobster in Ohio discovered a rare blue lobster and named it "Clawde." A calico lobster named "Freckles" was saved from a seafood platter in Virginia back in 2021.

Over the past few years, another orange lobster, a yellow lobster and even a half-orange, half-brown have been brought to aquariums throughout the country. 

“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,” said Nicole Bott, the senior director of communications at Red Lobster. “It is an honor to be able to share the story of Cheddar and provide her a new home where she can be enjoyed by many for years to come, all from the safety of her tank.”


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