The biggest lobster at the Aquarium.
Note: He is not on exhibit at this time. This blog is the best place to see him.
You've seen a few posts on training we have done with some smaller lobsters (here and here), but did you also know we are training a 24 pound lobster? That's right - this lobster is the size of 3 newborn babies! I initially started off just learning how to feed him, but have since introduced a target and he is doing great.
Lobsters are really cool animals. Did you know that like people, they can develop handedness? All lobsters start out with their two claws the same size, but as they get older, they will start to use one claw more than the other. This claw will develop a lot of muscle, get really big, and become what we know as the "crusher" claw. The muscle of the crusher claw doesn't tire easily, so when the lobster needs to break open a shell (to get the food inside), the lobster can apply a lot of pressure over a long period of time. The other, smaller claw becomes the "pincher" claw. This claw can be moved quickly and is designed to cut through softer things, like fish.
Crusher claw (left) Pincher claw (right)
In the case of our big lobster here, his crusher claw is on his left and the pincher claw is on his right. I found that the best way to feed him was to lightly hold his pincher claw so I can get the food directly to his mouth. I don't have to apply a lot of pressure, but this way he knows where to focus and doesn't accidentally mistake my arm for food.
This video shows some of the training sessions with this big boy. You can see exactly how I feed him, how fast he can move his claw if I don't hold it, and his really great reactions to the target.