Two of the rarest lobsters in the world were rescued from the saucepan after a buyer discovered them for sale at a fishmonger.
The orange Canadian lobsters are so rare that only one in 30 million is ever caught and so elusive that most fishermen never see them.
Incredibly, two of the live shellfish were on sale for £ 25.50 in a Macro store in inland Leicester.
47-year-old caterer Joseph Lee saw the lobsters swim around the tank while shopping at the store in the city’s Meridian Business Park.
He said, “I went in to do my usual shopping for my catering business. I saw these two orange lobsters from afar and thought they were toys because I only saw them orange when they were cooked.
“I knew you wouldn’t have put cooked lobsters in there because you have to keep lobsters in a special tank with running water below seven degrees.
“I thought someone had a joke and put some orange lobsters in the tank.
“I got closer and found that they were alive. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
“I’ve been going to Makro for ten years and was a fishmonger myself, but I’ve never seen anything like it.
“Rob the fishmonger told me they were very, very rare lobsters, and there was a one in 30 million chance of getting one in the tank.
“It’s like being struck by lightning three times and surviving each time.
“It is inconceivable to have not one but two in the tank.”
The Leicester father of two decided to keep the lobsters from selling and spoke to the store manager, who agreed to donate them to an aquarium.
He said, “I couldn’t stand the thought of these extremely rare creatures ending up on a plate.
“I spoke to the catering department manager who said they would donate them to a Sea Life Center.
“It’s just amazing to see two of these amazingly colorful lobsters. I’m glad they were saved so that people can enjoy them.”
Live lobsters are usually dark brown or gray in color, which makes it easier for them to camouflage themselves in the wild.
They don’t turn orange until they are cooked, which makes the sight of two with a carrot-colored exoskeleton even less common.
Macro Branch Manager Anthony Burrage said, “We donated them to the Birmingham Sea Life Center.
“After they arrived in store from our delivery partners, we realized they were unique and not the norm we called our quality assurance department and they did the rest.
“You called Birmingham Sea Life and were picked up on Saturday.”