Dorset fishermen discover albino lobster

The albino lobsters Santa Claws
Image caption The albino lobster was found off Portland Bill by two Bridport fishermen

A rare albino lobster that could be more than 30-years-old has been caught in a lobster-pot off the Dorset coast.

The two Bridport fishermen who found the crustacean near Portland Bill handed it to Weymouth Sea Life Park.

Albinism is caused by a lack of melanin in the skin, which means there is a lack of colour pigment.

Fiona Smith, from the park, said: "There have only been one or two other albino lobsters found around the UK in the last 20 years or so."

Without camouflage she added, it was "incredible" this one had not been eaten by a predator such as a shark.

Ms Smith also explained that the size of a lobster determines its age. At 40cm (15.7in) long, including its claws, she said this animal was "pretty big".

"[It] could easily be more than 30 years old," she said.

Lobsters can grow up to 75cm (29.5in) long and live for up to 50 years.

They shed their hard shells as they outgrow them.

It will not be known if Santa Claws' condition is temporary until it next moults.

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