Lobster lovers want to know how long do lobsters live. There actually isn’t an exact answer, but lobsters are estimated to live from roughly 70-100 years. Water temperature plays a major role, according to scientists, as colder water can help lobsters live longer because the cold slows down their metabolism. For example, the American lobster, found in the cold waters of the Atlantic, lives roughly 100 years while the warm water Caribbean spiny lobster lives less than 20 years.
Lobsters Keep Growing
Another factor in figuring out how long do lobsters live, is that these crustaceans don’t really stop growing. If lobsters are caught by humans or eaten by predators, they keep on growing, although they grow slower as they age. Most lobsters caught weight about 1 pound and are between 5 and 18 months old. Another interesting fact is that lobsters keep growing as they age and they also keep reproducing as they age. So even old lobsters can mate (called geriatric matin).
The reason is hard to figure out exactly how long lobster live because they don’t leave much clues as they age (like in the case of trees and tree rings). Because lobsters molt, all their body parts that can indicate growth actually get taken out, leaving not much clues to the age of the lobsters. However, scientists have now found that lobsters do have teeth in their stomachs that persist through all the molting, so by analyzing these teeth (like tree rings), we may be able to determine the age of a lobster.
Molting is actually an intriguing process. Lobsters actually shed their entire outer hard shell (called the exoskeleton) and then start growing a bigger body. Young lobsters molt dozens of time per year, and as they grow older, will molt about once every two or three years. Lobsters will keep molting and growing in size. The biggest lobster every caught weighed over 40 pounds. The average American lobster can weigh 25 pounds mature. Molting can actually be lethal to lobsters, as 10 to 15 percent of lobsters die during the molting process. One myth is that lobsters can live forever. That’s not true, as they cannot live indefinitely, although they don’t really stop growing as they age.
Some people are disturbed that lobsters are boiled alive when they are served as seafood. It’s actually illegal in some places (for example, Italy) to boil lobsters alive. A humane method of killing lobsters before boiling is through killing them by electric current strong enough to electrocute them. This electrocution is supposed to kill them instantly.
Now you know how long do lobsters live, there is an interesting fact about lobster being used as food in the United States. Nowadays, lobsters are considered fine dining and expensive food. However, in colonial times in certain areas, they were considered as food for the poor. Indentured servants and even prisoners were served lobsters. Things have change quite a bit since those times from a culinary standpoint about lobsters. Lobsters are now quite the delicacy.
Eat When Fresh as Possible
You can see lobsters kept in lobster tanks at restaurants. They can only survive about 1 day when taken out of water. The rule of thumb is to cook and eat the lobster the same day you get them from the ocean or tank. They don’t actually stay fresh in the fridge long either. So even though we don’t know precisely how long do lobsters live, we know you should eat them as soon as possible once they are removed from the water.