Maine Fisherman Catches Extremely Rare All Orange Lobster, Throws It Back

A TikTok video shows the moment a fisherman catches a "unique" rare type of lobster before releasing it back into the ocean.

The video, which has been viewed more than 850,000 times since being posted a couple of days ago, was made by Jacob Knowles, a Maine fisherman who regularly posts videos documenting his time at sea and the various creatures caught.

"We caught our first unique lobster," Knowles says, holding a small orange lobster up to the camera. "She's pretty cool, she's all orange… she looks like she's got gloves on."

An orange lobster might not sound particularly rare since lobsters are commonly depicted as being red or orange in color.

However, this is not how lobsters actually tend to look in real life. Most lobsters are actually described as a mottled brown or blue color, and it is only after they are cooked that they turn into the reddish color they are sometimes associated with.

Naturally orange lobsters have actually been described as very rare. In 2021, the manager of a Canadian grocery store noticed that one of the lobsters in their store's tank was orange in color.

A stock photo shows a fisherman holding a net on a boat. A fisherman on TikTok has shared the moment he caught a rare orange lobster before throwing it back into the water. SorinVidis/Getty

"Being picked on and being stuck in a tank seemed like a terrible way to go, so we started thinking about what we could do for it," Niki Lundquist, whose husband manages the store, told The Guardian newspaper.

They decided to take it to Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, which gladly took the lobster in from the "awesome" couple. In a Facebook post, the aquarium described the lobster, which it named Pinchy, as a "1 in 30 million creature."

Knowles, aware of the rarity of the orange lobster seen in his TikTok video, gives the rare little animal a small notch on its tail using what appears to be a sort of clipping tool. "That way, once she grows up… people can't keep her."

Knowles then willingly drops the rare lobster overboard, returning it to the water.

The reason that lobsters turn red when cooked is due to the interaction between a chemical called astaxanthin and a group of proteins they produce, according to a 2015 study.

The cooking of lobsters, which tend to be boiled alive, has been criticized as cruel. In 2021, the British Veterinary Association referred to compelling evidence that decapod crustaceans like lobsters and crabs are capable of experiencing suffering and that crabs may be conscious of being boiled alive for three whole minutes. They also highlighted increasing evidence that chilling the animals first is ineffective.