22-pound lobster goes to zoo, avoids invitation to dinner

Sunday, March 13, 2005

PITTSBURGH -- He could have survived two world wars and Prohibition. He also could have been dinner. He's Bubba, a 22-pound leviathan of a lobster pulled from the waters off Nantucket, Mass., and shipped to a Pittsburgh fish market. Earlier this month, fish market owner Bob Wholey gave the lobster to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, which will send him to an aquarium at a Ripley's Believe It or Not museum. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent Wholey a letter asking him to work with the group to release Bubba back in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Maine. Another group calling itself People For Eating Tasty Animals reportedly offered Wholey a hefty price for the lobster. At a market price of $14.98 a pound, Bubba would retail for about $350. Based on how long it takes a lobster to reach eating size -- about five to seven years to grow to a pound -- some estimate Bubba is 100 years old.

But Bob Bayer, executive director of the University of Maine's Lobster Institute, is skeptical and estimates that Bubba is likely 50 years old. Warm water and plenty of food may have more to do with a lobster's size than how long it's been alive, he said.

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