Crab spared pot after surviving five days in fridge

Image caption The crab is expected to have a "long retirement" at the aquarium

A large crab which was spared the cooking pot after spending five days in a fridge is recovering in an aquarium.

The edible crab, caught in Dartmouth, Devon, was handed by the fishermen to friends in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

But when it came to cooking, the owners were so amazed to find the crab still alive, they could not bring themselves to go ahead.

Bristol Aquarium said the crab, called George by the owners, had been kept in "suspended animation" by the cold.

Special tank

The crustacean, with hand-sized claws and a 9in (23cm) shell, was so impressive that the fisherman decided to present it to a sick friend in the hope it would cheer him up.

The edible brown crab, estimated to be 15-20 years old, then spent five days in the fridge.

David Waines, from the aquarium, said: "We received a phone call from a lady who told us they had a large crab in their fridge and they wanted to donate it to the aquarium.

"Basically, they didn't have the heart to kill him.

"Additionally, they decided they did not have a saucepan big enough to cook him in.

"When she told me it had been in there for five days, I couldn't believe it was still alive."

He told the them to wrap it in a wet towel and bring it to the aquarium as quickly as possible.

"Although the crab was very weak when it arrived, the fact that it was kept refrigerated meant it was in a kind of suspended animation," said Mr Waines.

"We placed it into a special tank in our quarantine area and began pumping oxygen-rich seawater over it and it immediately started to show signs of recovery."

Brown crabs can live up to 40 years, he said.

"Hopefully it will continue to get better and will be able to enjoy an unexpectedly long retirement here at the aquarium."

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