Libbie the Lobster

To purchase the children's book "Saving Libbie the Lobster" go to

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First Graders Want to Know

Heather Chalmers and I wrote the children’s book of how we saved Libbie the Lobster from a Publix Supermarket tank because we wanted to be a part of the wonderful learning process of young children. So we asked a friend, Dawn Emling, a first grade teacher at Belle Terre Elementary School to share the story of the famous Libbie the Lobster with her class. The kids became excited wanted to know more about Libbie.10601307_805369899497203_1867280225_n Dawn was happy to write down their questions and we had fun finding the answers. Here is what these bright kids wanted to know:

Kids want to know

Why is Libbie yellow? Most lobsters are dark greenish brown. Once in a great while  lobsters can be other colors such as yellow, blue, calico or albino.

Do lobsters have noses? Yes, they do have noses. Their noses are on their short antennae. They have a great sense of smell.

Do they eat using teeth? Yes, lobsters teeth are in their stomachs.

Do they have ears? No, they do not have ears, but they do sense vibration through sound waves.

Do they have skeletons? They have exoskeletons, which means their skeletons are on the outside, like spiders and crabs.

How would you describe a lobsters shell? A lobster’s shell is its exoskeleton. In order to grow lobsters shed their old shells and form new ones.

Do they eat healthy? Yes, they eat fresh food, including fish, crabs, clams, mussels, and sea urchins.

Do they eat coral? Lobsters do not eat coral as long as they have enough food.

Do they have bodies? Yes

Do they have toes? No, but they have claws.

Do they have legs? They have 10 legs. The first are the large claws.

Are their eyes black? Yes, and they can see reflections. They use their antennae to sense their surroundings.

Who are their enemies? Seals, and cod-fish are known to eat lobsters, but humans are greatest predator of full-grown lobsters.

Heather and I have had much fun writing our children’s book, Saving Libbie the Lobster,  but the greatest joy will come from watching children enjoy her story.


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The Famous Libbie is Carrying Eggs!

Did you ever wonder how lobsters have babies? I certainly had not although I thought lobsters were fascinating. When I saw Libbie the Rare Yellow Lobster for the first time in a Publix Supermarket here in my local town of Flagler Beach, Florida, I could not have imagined I would become this attached to one beautiful rare yellow lobster.

As Heather Chalmers (my co-author) and I were putting the finishing touches on our children’s book, Saving Libbie the lobster, I received an email from the Aquarist at Libbie’s new home in the Seacoast Science Center in N.H.10609045_10204622361664750_1119253355_n It said Libbie is carrying eggs! Hardly able to contain my excitement I began researching the reproduction process of lobsters. As it turns out, lobsters are viciously territorial but make gentle lovers. Want to know more, read here:

There are two ways to tell if a lobster is a male or a female. You may be able to  identify the sex simply by looking at its tail. Females have wider tails than males do because that is where she carries her eggs. The other way to determine a lobster’s sex is to look at its first pair of swimming legs. When you turn the lobster over and look under the base of the tail, you will see a pair of legs that look different from the rest. This first pair of pleopods either will be feathery or hard; males have hard pleopods which they use to deposit sperm into the female. Females have soft, feathery pleopods so she doesn’t hurt the eggs she will carry under her tail.

Lobsters can only mate after the female molts. Before that stage, the female releases pheromones (chemicals) into the water to let nearby males know she is preparing to molt and mate. If there are multiple males interested in the female, they will fight each other for her. The lobster that wins the fight will take the female into his cave and protect her from predators since she is vulnerable while molting. Once she has shed her hard exoskeleton, the male gently turns her over and pierces her abdomen with his first pair of pleopods. He deposits sperm packets into her sperm receptacles; these she will store for up to 15 months before she releases eggs.

When the female judges the time is right, she releases the eggs which pass by the seminal receptacle and are fertilized with the stored sperm. The female then attaches the eggs, all 5,000 plus of them [some older females will carry 100,000], under her tail with a glue-like substance where they will stay for the next ten to eleven months. During this time she is called a berried lobster because the eggs look like small berries.

When the eggs hatch, the baby lobsters don’t look like their parents. These small larvae will molt four times before they start to show any resemblance to an adult lobster. When they are small larvae, the baby lobsters float at the surface of the ocean. Not many of the millions of eggs hatched each summer will survive this first stage of their life; small lobsters are snack food for dozens of other marine species. Once the small lobsters have grown out of the first larval stages, they move to the ocean floor to find protection in seaweed and rocks. There the juvenile lobsters will stay hidden until they are large enough to fight off predators.


So if all goes well, since Libbie is 15 years old, she could have tens of thousands of baby lobsters! Whoa!


Keep up with Libie on her Facebook Page:

And to Pre-order our book go to:

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What’s all the Hoopla?

It has been a month since I first laid eyes on the rare golden-yellow lobster in a local Publix supermarket. To my amazement many people became quite excited and willing to help when I posted a picture of her on Facebook. So why were people so enthusiastic about one, 2.5 pound, yellow lobster?14903_851434018200920_2174728373357695018_n

Wherever I go these days, people recognize me from the TV newscasts of Libbie the Lobster’s rescue. I began to wonder what all the hoopla was about. As I listened to people talk about the story I became aware that many people had interjected their own reasons why saving Libbie was a good thing to do.

The TV News stations, Newspapers and online News sources told me they thought this was a “great human interest story.” Laughingly, I thought it sounded more like a “lobster interest story.” I was fully aware that I just wanted to save a beautiful yellow lobster from a sure and painful death. If that led to people seeing some positive news for a change, then I was all for it.

Several friends believed that saving Libbie was a way for me to bring awareness to others about animal cruelty. I had not though of that but certainly if some people became more aware, that is wonderful.

Through the many comments on Facebook, I could see that generally people thought this story was cute and shared the pictures with their children. I was thrilled to make people smile in delight looking at Libbie’s pictures. images (5)

But what, you may wonder, was my intent? Honestly, I saw this magnificent yellow lobster in the lobster tank and my heart sank. I am vegan and I do not want any animal to suffer for human consumption. It is in my nature to take any opportunity I can to practice what I believe. I did not once consider I may change people’s minds about how they eat. Although some people have told me they will never eat lobster again.

And so by doing my small part to help a lobster, people came together yet again and showed the power of the human spirit to make a difference.


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Coincidence? Fate? Chance? Part II

This is where Part I of Libbie the Rare Yellow Lobster’s amazing story left off:

As if things weren’t happening fast at that point, they began to move at jet speed. I found The Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire, whose Aquarist, Rob Royer just happened to receive my email andmain_slideshow_noflash responded that he would love to have her. I gave Mark Murrell, Nadine King and Rob Royer each other’s contact information. Mark sent me instructions on how to pack Libbie for shipping, where to take her, and provided the tracking label for her overnight flight to New Hampshire.

What happens next? Part II of course! It unfolds thus:

Mark Murrell, Nadine King , and Rob Royer just happened to be able to reach each other right away. I doubt everyone was waiting by their phones for the calls. They just happened to each be in the right place at the right time.

Heather Chalmers and I carefully placed Libbie on top of crumpled newspapers, dampened with seawater, over frozen gel packs in a sturdy Styrofoam container as instructed, and said our sad goodbyes to our beautiful golden treasure. We worried about her making the trip to New Hampshire safely after all she had been through. We wondered whether she would be cold enough and whether she’d be tossed around in the container and maybe her shell would break (which is not a good thing for a lobster).

I drove Libbie to Daytona, about a half hour from my home in Flagler Beach.  My senses were heightened as I watched for every possible event which could deter me from my mission. As it happened, the traffic lights stayed green, traffic was at a minimum and it was smooth sailing directly to the UPS facility.

Closing the lid on Libbie’s container, I said a prayer that she would arrive unharmed to her new home in the Seacoast Science Center. Following what felt like an eternally long, sleepless night for20140731_103647 both Heather and myself, I received a message from Nadine that Libbie had arrived safe and sound with a picture of she and Rob at the science center. With a deep sigh, I phoned Heather to give her the good news.

That part of our journey had come to a close but another was to begin before that day was out. I wanted the children who would visit Libbie to be able to read her story. I suggested to Heather that we could write a children’s book. She smiled her beautiful smile and said , “Yes, I thought about that too!” So our labor of love continues and Libbie will remain a star!

So could all that happened from the time I first saw Libbie on a late Sunday afternoon until early Thursday morning have been just coincidence? Was it fate that brought Libbie into my life and Heather’s too? Was it just one lucky event after another? Or was it something else? You decide and let us know your thoughts.

Keep watching for more. Coming soon…the writing of Libbie the Lobster’s storybook.


Coincidence? Fate? Chance? Part I

Could every event that occurred in just one short week have been by coincidence, an act of fate, just pure luck or something else? I will let you be the judge.

The events unfolded thus:

One recent Sunday, I decided to stop at Publix for some quick food shopping on my way home from the gym and just happened upon a friend who told me that there was a very rare lobster in the lobster tank in the seafood department. I went to see for myself despite the fact that being vegan I don’t like to see live lobsters in a tank to be sold as food. The seafood department manager just happened to be standing there and told me that14903_851434018200920_2174728373357695018_n he had researched about “her” (he said she was female) and she is one in 30 million rare. I took a picture of her and posted it on Facebook asking if anyone knew where I might find her a home.

Heather Chalmers (who I had only met twice before) just happened to be on Facebook at the time and responded that she would like to help. She went directly to Publix and discussed details of the rare golden-yellow lobster I had seen with the seafood department manager. (And by the way, Heather and I just happen to both be writers.)

Amazingly by the next day, Heather and I had spoken several times and had begun to put a plan together to rescue the beautiful yellow lobster from becoming someone’s dinner and to get her to a cold water tank, which we had learned she needed to survive.

While Heather prepared a fish tank, she just happened to have, and filled it with ocean water from our awesome Flagler Beach, I kept up with our many friends on Facebook who responded with suggestions of who may be willing to take her. I emailed, called, and messaged at least 30 facilities in the State of Florida, including SeaWorld, MarineLand, and The Florida Aquarium. Although people were very kind and wanted to help, no place in Florida had cold water tanks.

Heather it turned out  just happened to be the perfectly right person for the job of helping me liberate the rare lobster. Her love of all living things is equal to mine and her ability to do what ever it takes bolstered my own. Without saying it to each other, we both seemed to be saying the same thing, “We can do this!”

And in the meantime (and we’re only 2 full days into this), A friend contacted The Palm Coast Observer (our local newspaper) who wanted to do the story. I had contacted ABC News 13 in Orlando thinking that news about this would help me find a home for our now named lobster, Libbie (short for liberation). “The human interest” story as the press called it, went viral after Heather, her daughter, Ava and I were filmed and interviewed with Libbie for TV.

A friend, Nadine King, of Christmas Come True , who lives in my town of Flagler Beach, just happened to be in Maine at that time. She just happened to know a man named Mark Murrell, owner of and sent me his email address thinking he may be of some assistance. I emailed him and he was eager to help. And by the way, the busy man he is, just happened to receive my email right away and responded with an immediate phone call.

Day three, Heather and I bought Libbie from Publix OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand placed her in the fish tank in Heather’s kitchen surrounded with bags of ice and frozen water bottles inside to keep the seawater cold, a temperature gauge, water filter, aerator, and plenty of scallops for her to eat.

Soon I was spending every waking moment answering email requests from news stations, including CNN, Huffington Post, and ABC News, New York to use our pictures of Libbie in their articles, and contacting science centers and aquariums outside the state for a home for Libbie.

Heather diligently cared for Libbie in her kitchen meanwhile, checking the temperature, water level and Libbie’s overall condition, as well as making several trips to the store for more ice and to the ocean for more seawater.

As if things weren’t happening fast at that point, they began to move at jet speed. I found The Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire, whose Aquarist, Rob Royer just “happened” to receive my email and responded that he would love to have her. I gave Mark Murrell, Nadine King and Rob Royer each other’s contact information. Mark sent me instructions on how tho pack Libbie for shipping, where to take her and provided the tracking label for her overnight flight to New Hampshire.

All the pieces were fitting together and everyone just happened to be in the right place at the right time to make it happen quickly. If Heather and I had even a moment to stop to see it all, we would have been amazed by the unmistakable synchronicity of it all.

Oh and there is more to this incredible story, much more! See what happens next!

What do you think so far? Is it coincidence, fate, chance, or something else?



How Did Libbie get to Publix?

Heather Chalmers and I have been so excited by the large number of fans Libbie the Lobster has acquired since our adventure began to liberate Libbie from becoming someone’s dinner feast. People love to talk about the story of her rescue.

I cannot help but smile when I see people’s’  faces light up when they see me and know about I’ve been told this is a great “human interest” story, so I imagine people are thirsty for good news these days. If some happiness can be brought into people’s’ lives in the form of a beautiful yellow lobster now named Libbie, then I’m all for it!

In talking with people about the story I have found that the most frequently asked question about Libbie is this: “How did she (Libbie) end up in a Publix Supermarket if she’s so rare?” I wondered the same thing myself a couple of times. So I went to the expert (Mark Murrell, owner of and asked the same question. In short, this is what Mark had to say:

“There is a part of the (Northeast) coast that has a higher propensity of producing a yellow lobster. There is an algae there that has a chemical reaction with the lobster’s shell.” This time of the year, demand for lobsters is high. In most cases lobsters like Libbie would have been “tossed back” before ever reaching the dock. “In this case Libbie was likely an oversight and included with all the others.”

So it seems that an apparent oversight on the part of those who handled Libbie has brought tremendous joy to so many of us.

Watch for more blogs about Libbie and her soon to be release children’s book, Saving Libbie the Lobster!