This is an interesting question and probably not something that many people ask themselves!
A lobster is a crustacean that lives in the ocean yet can be found on dinner tables all over the world. Lobsters used for food are usually boiled alive (grim!), but some people might want to keep one as a pet instead of eating it.
This post explores if you can take a store-bought lobster destined for the dinner table home and keep it as a pet.
We will give you some top tips for keeping lobsters as pets and how to prepare for their arrival and safe upkeep.
Keeping a Lobster as a Pet: What Do you Need to Know?
It’s not uncommon for people to keep lobsters as pets. In fact, Lobsters are a highly intelligent and interesting species and can make for fabulous entertainment.
We’ve gone into detail about keeping lobsters as pets here, but if you just want some quick tips, here are our 5 top tips :
Understand the species
There are numerous different species of lobster, but primarily only four are commonly found to thrive well in a tank environment.
- Debelius lobster
- Feather star squat lobster
- Red lobster
- Spiny lobster
The breed of Lobster most commonly found in the grocery store are
- Maine Lobsters
- Canadian Lobsters
- French Blue Lobsters
As you can see, these don’t fall into the conventional 4 breeds of lobster you would expect to see kept as a pet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t.
Grocery store lobsters tend to be either soft shell or hard shell, the shell ins’t dictated by the breed, it is just a stage of the natural molting process of a lobster.
Select the Correct Tank Size
What size tank does a lobster need?
Lobsters generally need quite a large tank. As a guideline, we’d suggest the tank should measure 5 times the length of the lobster as a minimum (that’s a big tank!).
You can’t just buy a lobster from the grocery store and throw it in any old tank!
Lobsters require a saltwater aquarium with the correct substrate and filtration system.
This is not a beginner pet to bring home, you need to understand how to set up and maintain a healthy aquarium.
What do lobsters eat?
There are subtle differences in the diet of individual species of lobster, however, Lobsters aren’t generally too fussy and will eat a variety of sea life.
Oysters, clams, and mussels will offer them a challenge and they’ll also eat other fish too, so it’s best not to keep them in a community tank!
Acclimatizing a grocery store Lobster for life as a pet
Let’s face it, a Lobster destined for the dinner table probably hasn’t had the best experience by the time it’s made it to the grocery store.
As a standard safety precaution, store-bought Lobsters will have their claws tied closed, with either sticky tape or elastic bands.
You’ll want to carefully remove these and appreciate that the claws may take some considerable time to be fully functional again.
Keeping A Grocery Store Lobster As A Pet
Meet (not meat :-)) Leon, the store-bought Lobster, now living happily as a pet whilst also being a youtube sensation!
YouTuber Brady Brandwood decided to see just what would happen if he bought a Lobster from the grocery store seafood section and kept it in a saltwater aquarium at home as a pet!
Brady is clearly an experienced aquarist and knew exactly what size tank, water type, substrate, and filter to use. He also regularly cleans and does partial water changes to keep the tank at optimal cleanliness.
In the first video below, you can follow Leons journey from the store to Brady’s home.
Brady was kind enough to share an update on how Leon is doing in the second video.
A first (of hopefully many) follow-up videos to the story of buying a Lobster from the grocery store seafood section and rehabbing it and keeping it as a pet.
Brady has posted another amazing video, this time showing Leon go to a new home!
Brady was able to do this due to a sponsorship from kamikoto, so if you’d like to support him check out his referral link https://kamikoto.com/brady.
So, there you have it, if you were wondering can you keep a grocery store lobster as a pet, the answer is yes! As to if we’d recommend this, probably not.