Where Does a Lobster Call Home?

By: Sherry Shantel


Be it ever so humble, where does a lobster call home? Lobsters live in the coastal regions around the world. Once shunned and now cultivated for human consumption, lobsters have come to be one of the most sought-after delicacies in the world.
To see a newborn lobster, you could never imagine it growing up to look like an adult lobster. It is incredibly tiny and misshapen, and its chances of living to reach the adult stage is only 1 in a thousand. While he spends his first two weeks of life floating near the surface of the ocean, he is easy prey for any fish that comes swimming by him. If he lives as long as the fourth stage of life, he will have molted 3 times.
Once the baby lobster has reached stage four, he has learned to swim well. He will spend this stage looking for a permanent place to live on the ocean floor. In the coastal regions around Cape Cod, he will pick out a home in the salt marsh peat. In coastal waters around Maine, his preference will be an area with cobble (small rocks) on the bottom.
The cobble provides many hiding spots where he can just lay around and let food come drifting down to him. The coast of Maine is particularly ideal for this purpose, because the water is clean and cold with a rocky bottom.
Shortly after he molts for his fifth time, he moves to the new location he has found on the ocean bottom. For the first year or so in his new residence, he remains hidden in his tunnel or crevice so that his predators can't find him. As he gets a little larger, say after his first year there, he begins to hide in the kelp and search for food. He'll continue to do this for another three years.
Small lobsters seldom come out in the open. If our lobster were to swim out into the ocean at this point in his life, he'd be eaten by fish within minutes. Only when he gets larger will he move to an area with larger rocks. He may also choose to live in sandy or muddy areas between the shoreline and the edge of the continental shelf. Being a loner, he lives by himself in a crevice or burrow under rocks.
No matter where a lobster lives, there are sure to be fishermen after him. If he manages to evade natural predators and fishermen, however, he can live a very long life. During colonial times when lobsters were abundant, there are reports that some of the lobsters were five or six feet long.
The largest lobster ever captured in modern times happened off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1977. This lobster weighed 44 pounds, 6 ounces and was somewhere between three and four feet long. Experts feel it could have been as much as 100 years old. Can you believe it?

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