Pinchy the crayfish at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium: New resident rescued after four days in garbage

He's considered the luckiest little fella alive – the creature who miraculously survived four days dumped in a garbage bin but was given a second chance at life by the waste removalists who found him.

Now Pinchy the Crayfish is relishing his blissful new existence in a freshwater tank with other crayfish, fish and turtles at the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.

"It's a better story than Finding Nemo," said one of his rescuers, mum-of-two Donna Buckley. "The fact that he managed to survive such a terrible ordeal gives us all hope when we're suffering the onslaught of COVID-19.

"If this little crayfish could beat the odds, then we can too. He was close to death when we found him but he's now living his best life in his new forever home and looks so healthy and happy. We look forward to seeing him again when the aquarium re-opens from the COVID restrictions and we can have a private moment with him."

Pinchy's epic tale of fortitude and good fortune began after he was flown from his fish farm home in Western Australia over to Sydney, then trucked to a city restaurant to be served up to diners. But it seems he was overlooked by staff and was thrown out with his Styrofoam packaging.

He was discovered by Donna and her boyfriend, Matt, when he was emptying a dumpster for his waste removal firm and opened the box to check its contents. And there was Pinchy, curled up in the corner, looking desperately shrivelled, more dead than alive.

"I looked up crayfish on my mobile and found out that they need freshwater, and tap water has too many chemicals," said Donna, 42. "So we bought four big bottles of mineral water and poured those into the box and the little guy immediately perked up, moving around and snapping his claws.

"We had to finish the round but he was the coolest offsider in his box between us. My mum said he'd be really nice in butter and Matt's dad asked if we had any more where he came from, but he'd been hiding for four days and seemed to be recovering, so we felt he deserved a second chance."

The pair considered keeping him but then decided he needed expert help, so called the aquarium's animal rescue centre and delivered him the next morning. There, staff put him into 14 days' quarantine to check he had no diseases, and nursed him back to health, pumping oxygen into his tank.

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"He's one lucky crayfish," said Daniel Sokolnikoff, displays supervisor at SEA LIFE at Darling Harbour. "He's a smooth marron and recovered well and has now settled really nicely into another tank with yabbies, six lungfish, archerfish, spotted gars and snakehead turtles, and everyone gets on well.

"We think he's quite young, probably only two years old, and so he'll have another few years left to live. It was great that he was rescued and, at a time of so much bad happening, it's a lovely piece of good news."

The aquarium is set to re-open on September 30, and it is hoped that Pinchy – who shares the same name as the famous pet lobster in The Simpsons that Homer accidentally boils to death in a hot bath – will become a star attraction.

But however he fares, he will always have a place in Donna's heart. "He might not be as pretty as other fish or cuddly like a kitten, but he deserved to be saved," she said. "They've sent us a video of him now and he looks like a completely different crayfish, so much lighter in colour.

"I'm the soppy, emotional one, but I think Pinchy is definitely the luckiest crayfish in Australia."

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