13/10/2012 11:52 BST | Updated 13/10/2012 12:11 BST

Giant Lobster Spared Boiling Death By Kind Fish Merchant (He Had A Get-Out Claws) (PICTURE)

A massive lobster more than 50-years-old and almost a metre in length has been saved from the cooking pot by a fish merchant.

The giant crustacean, which tips the scales at 4.5kg, was hauled up in lobster pots off Plymouth in Devon and had been destined for the Spanish market.

But a kind-hearted fish merchant from Kingsbridge in Devon deemed the lobster too old and too special to be eaten and, rather than keep it as a pet like Homer Simpson's ill-fated Pinchy, donated him to Bristol Aquarium.

Now the giant lobster, named Patrick, is looking forward to a peaceful retirement in the aquarium's native marine display tank.

giant lobster

Patrick the lobster, a lofty 50 years old, will sit in retirement at Bristol aquarium

Curator Dan de Castro said: "Patrick is a truly impressive specimen. He is in fantastic condition with a bright blue body and a red-coloured claw.

"In spite of his age and his size the lobster appears to be in truly excellent condition.

"His claws are so large that he can hardly hold them up when he is out of the water and you need to be careful when you handle him.

"There are many lobster-sized hiding places in the display and he will be able to live out the remainder of his days in very comfortable surroundings, with a regular supply of fresh food and be forever safe from the pot."

Lobsters are extremely long-lived with some individuals reaching ages in excess of 60 years, a spokesman for the harbourside aquarium said.

The heaviest recorded crustacean is an Atlantic lobster nicknamed Mike who was caught in 1934 and tipped the scales at 19kg.