Have you ever wondered what is one of the most unusual pets you can own in the UK?
Meet the Axolotl! This creature is an Amphibian and comes from a family called Salamanders. They are usually noticeable for their lizard-like looks and shape.
In This Blog we Cover
What Is An Axolotl?
The Axolotl, or also known as the Mexican Walking Fish, have a rare condition called neoteny. This means that they keep many of their larval features from being born, all the way through to their adult life. This includes their webbed feet, feathery gills, and a body fin. In addition to this they have fully functioning lungs, they choose to breathe out of their external gills instead.
Axolotls stay aquatic all throughout their life, unlike the rest of their Salamander relatives. This means that they mistakenly get identified as an aquatic due to their habitat and appearance. But they are in fact still an amphibian.
|They grow to 25-30cm approximately||They can live up to 15 years with correct care, but is averaged at 10 years|
|Amphibians||Colours: Brown, black albino, grey and pink|
|There is 700-1,200 left in the wild||Pronounced Ax-oh-lot-ul|
Axolotls are known to become aggressive to one another. They can bite off gills, feet, and their tails. However, fortunately this unique species can regenerate limbs if they have lost them – but they are only capable of doing this five times. So, if their right arm gets bitten off six times, they are going to be left without an arm which can potentially affect their swimming.
Their body is made up of mostly cartilage rather than bone which makes their skin very delicate. Their skin is also permeable which means that they absorb oxygen through it.
This also means that chemicals and other dangerous things can be absorbed through their skin, so you should never touch an Axolotl or handle them unless it is absolutely necessary. Usually the best course of action is to employ a fine mesh net.
Whilst you may want to get your pet Axolotl a friend for their tank, it is very wise to not do this. They can eat other species of fish if they are housed together, but other fish in turn may also try to eat them.
Axolotls have been known to nibble one another and bite off limbs. Whilst they can regenerate their limbs, it is better to prevent this scenario from happening altogether.
After all, you don’t want your axolotl to have their leg bitten off so many times that they stop growing back.
Another great feature about this species is that they can shift their skin colour to help blend into their surroundings by turning lighter or darker as necessary – yep, that’s right they have a biological camouflage.
If you are a first-time owner of an Amphibian, don’t worry! This hardy and easy to care for pet will help get you on your way to becoming a reptile lover.
Due to them being completely aquatic, they will need an aquarium to live in which is the correct size for them. Their tank should hold at least 15-20 gallons or be 25-30 cm deep. Anymore is a bonus as they are quite active creatures.
This water tank should be kept at around 14-20 degrees and kept in a cool room away from any direct sunlight.
Clean their tank regularly unless you can fit a gentle clean water filter which will allow you some flexibility.
Add fresh water daily with de-chlorinated or bottled spring water as they cannot handle chlorine on their bodies. Make sure you purchase a water test kit to check the level of pH levels remain between 6.5 and 7.5. It is advisable that you do not do a full water change as this can add too much stress to the Axolotl by changing the water chemicals too dramatically.
If you choose to not use a filter, we recommend you change 20% of the water daily. Whereas, if you use a filter, change 20% of the water each week whilst removing the waste daily from the bottom of the tank as this species produce more waste than your average fish.
Axolotl’s love to jump! So, make sure that the lid of the aquarium is securely fastened down. They are not land animals, so if they jump out, they will not survive very long out of their habitat and will dehydrate very quickly. If they are not put back straight away the consequences could be fatal.
Within your habitat, your Axolotl would love you if you gave them a dark hiding place. This will reduce their level of stress and keep them happy and healthy. You can use things like logs, stones, or bark for them to hide behind or under.
You may want to line the bottom with aquarium gravel to make it look appeasing. This is not a requirement for them, but if you do decide to do this, you will need to use large gravel rather than smaller gravel to prevent them inhaling the gravel and causing intestinal problems.
Your Axolotl is a carnivore but try and avoid feeding them live fish as this can contaminate your tank.
They love to eat things like earthworms, crickets, bloodworms, lean meat, and even small pieces of shrimp. Feed them every 3-4 days and remove any uneaten food from their tank to prevent it from growing mould and producing bacteria.
When you are thinking about how much to feed your new pet, contact your vet to discuss this. There are many ways of feeding them and mixing things up.
One way of doing this is holding their food with round forceps and offering it for them. Another alternative is simply dropping the food in the tank for them.
If you find they do not want to eat during the day, try and change their feeding time to the evening when they become more awake and livelier. They may have more of an appetite.
If they still fail to show interest in their food and lack an appetite, contact your veterinary practice as this can be down to illness.
Fun Facts you may not know about your Axolotl
To finish off, we have put together some fun facts which you may not know about Axolotls.
- As we previously mentioned, not only can they regenerate a limb which they have lost but they can also regenerate a heart and certain brain cells.
- They can only be found in the wild in Mexico.
- They are an endangered species due to water pollution, overfishing, habitat loss, and invasive species.
- Whilst they live their whole life as a baby, they can still breed and cope well in adult life.
- Whilst they are legal to own in the UK, many states in America have made it illegal to own one as a pet.
Hopefully, you will understand more about the Axolotl and be better prepared if you are considering purchasing one.
You may not see them in your local pet shop due to the specific temperature they need and the lack of sunlight, however, you may be able to request one to be delivered there or to your home. You may also find them at exotic shows or online. If you are purchasing online, do make sure you are buying from a reputable and legal breeder.