When Robyn Crawford checked her usual shipment of fresh lobster at Charlottetown's Lobster on the Wharf restaurant and seafood market earlier this week, she discovered something she felt she needed to protect.

Inside the crate was a calico lobster.

"I found it in the one pounder crate and it looked different to me," Crawford said. "I thought it was kind of cool because he kind of looked leopard print."

Robyn Crawford

Seafood market employee Robyn Crawford says she plans to keep the rare lobster in the tank for a couple of weeks before freeing him back into the ocean. (Submitted by Lobster on the Wharf)

Calico lobsters, known for their uniquely coloured shells and distinctive pigmentation, are anything but ordinary. In fact, they are especially rare. According to the University of Maine's Lobster Institute, the odds of catching one are one in 30 million.

Fearing it was only a matter of time before the unusual crustacean was scooped up and served on a plate with a side of melted butter, Crawford purchased it. She even gave him a name, Coco, which she said is inspired by the word calico.

'I'm keeping him'

"He's so rare. I don't want anyone cooking him and eating him," Crawford said. "I was like 'he's not going anywhere. I'm keeping him.'"

For now she's keeping her new pet in a saltwater tank inside the seafood market, where curious customers are free to drop by to catch a glimpse of his colourful spots.

She stops by throughout the day to check on him and feed him clams. She plans to keep him in the market for a couple of weeks before freeing him back into the ocean.

Crawford said in the eight years she's worked at Lobster on the Wharf, she's never seen anything quite like this lobster.

"I didn't even know they existed."