As Hamlet once said in a William Shakespeare joint, "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio". Even though it seems like we've discovered all there is on this planet of ours, new plants and animals are popping up all the time. And even those critters that we think we've learned all about still have some surprises for us.
A Lobster Story For The Ages
Take Rocky, Louie, George, and Larry for instance. They may sound like the next big boy band, but in reality they are four very old (most likely), very large (definitely) marine crustaceans. If you are picturing the monster from an underwater horror movie you aren't totally far off.
Lobsters are arthropods with exoskeletons that molt to grow, like other invertebrates such as spiders and scorpions. They are estimated to live around 45 to 50 years in the wild, though there isn't a perfect system for figuring out their ages.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest lobster ever caught weighed over 44 pounds (and was picked up in Nova Scotia). According to legend, the largest was over 51 pounds and measured 33 inches from nose to the beginning of its tail. Unfortunately, all that remains to prove the existence of this behemoth is a photograph from 1926.
Three Out Of Four Of These Big Fellas Almost Ended Up As Someone's Dinner
Louie The Lobster
So where do our lobsters fit in on the grand scale of things? From smallest to largest, Larry weighed 15 pounds, George was around 20, Louie beat him with 22 pounds, and Rocky topped the list at 27. Larry was estimated at around 105 years old while George, around 140 years old, was thought to be the oldest lobster ever caught.
Larry The Lobster
Lobster is a really popular and decadent seafood dish, and three out of four of these big fellas almost ended up as someone's dinner. Customers at the Tin Fish Restaurant paid $300 to have Larry shipped to Maine for release. PETA worked to have George rescued from the City Crab and Seafood Restaurant. And Louie lived at Peter's Clam Bar for over two decades before the owner decided to release him back into the ocean. He had quite the sendoff too, with a ceremony and town officials in attendance.
Rocky The Lobster
Luckily for Rocky he never risked filling someone's belly. He was caught in a shrimp net in Maine and taken to the Maine State Aquarium, then released shortly after. It's illegal in the state to keep a lobster over five inches long from eye to beginning of tail, and Rocky was eight times that. Maine's law against large lobster being kept and killed is part of the reason all four of these gentlemen were released there after being surrendered from their restaurant tanks.
George The Lobster
Usually when we think of monsters in the ocean, we picture giant sharks or killer whales or whatever ridiculous amphibious creature the latest horror film has come up with. With their giant claws, multitude of legs, and waving eye stocks, lobster seem like they could easily be added to the list of things to fear under the water. Especially when they grow to be the size of a small human child.
While not as popular as giant man-eating sharks (seriously, it's like every other day there is a killer shark movie released on streaming lately), there have been films featuring monsters that bare a striking resemblance to lobster. Ebirah, nemesis of Godzilla, has appeared in multiple films since 1966. And 1959's cult classic (made popular by "Mystery Science Theater 3000") "Teenagers from Outer Space" not only has giant lobsters, but, in an ironic twist, also includes aliens farming humans for lobster chow.
Lucky for us, as big as Larry, George, Louie, and Rocky are, they probably won't be destroying coastal cities, fighting giant reptilian monsters, or partaking of human (the other other white meat) anytime soon. But the ocean is a vast and mysterious place, and who knows if there aren't some bigger, meaner lobster, just waiting in the depths to be found.