What Is An Axolotl?
Legend has it that the axolotl is the Aztec god of lightning and fire, Xolotl, disguised as a salamander to avoid being sacrificed. But, to give you a simpler (and less dramatic) explanation, the axolotl is an interesting species of aquatic salamander that can be found in the wild in just one place; Lake Xochimilco in Mexico City. However, we won’t completely discredit the theory that they are all-powerful!
Axolotls (pronounced ak·suh·laa·tls) are fairly small in size and come in a wide range of colors. Their unusual appearance has made them beloved by people all over the world and in turn, they’ve become highly popular as pets. Unfortunately, due to habitat destruction and the introduction of invasive fish species, these awesome little aquatic creatures are critically endangered. Because of this, they are typically bred in captivity for scientific research and protection.
From axolotl pet care and the diet of an axolotl to all their quirks and amazing regenerative traits, here are some exciting facts about these unusual amphibians.
Five Axolotl Fun Facts
Also known as the Mexican water dragon, the axolotl is a species of salamander native to Mexico. While they might look like some sort of mutant monster, they are anything but! In fact, one interesting google search asks “do axolotls eat humans?” but fear not! Although they are typically predators in their habitats, they’re not known to attack humans. However, no worm, tadpole or insect is safe.
When it comes to axolotl pet care, this little critter is pretty low maintenance. But perhaps the first step to learning how to take care of an axolotl, is to get to know their most interesting quirks. Here are our top five axolotl fun facts:
- Axolotls are incredible healers! Like lizards that can regrow their tails, axolotls can regrow multiple body parts including its limbs and internal organs such as the brain, lungs and even heart! This makes them one of the most resilient animals on earth.
- Axolotls look like babies their whole life! They are neotenic creatures which means they achieve sexual maturity without ever losing any of their larval features. So, while many amphibians like the salamander will eventually live on land, the axolotls reach adulthood without ever undergoing metamorphosis, so they keep their feathery external gills and remain aquatic.
- Axolotls are carnivores! Because they are neotenic, their teeth never develop so they must rely on suction to consume food. When it comes to the diet of an axolotl, they do not require daily feeding but when they do eat, they’re not picky. They’ll feast on anything from worms and fish to crustaceans and insects.
- Axolotls come in all sorts of colors! The patterns and pigmentations vary but most often you will see pink, brown or black with specks of olive or gold. But something even cooler is that they can adjust their color to camouflage themselves with their surroundings.
- Axolotls have a mating dance! Once they reach about six months old, they begin to mate and the process involves them moving together in a circular, dance-like fashion. It’s only right when courting a lady to invite her to dance, first!
These cool creatures continue to fascinate scientists to this day. If you’re looking for a fun pet that’s easy to take care of and has an interesting history behind it, then an axolotl is the perfect companion! Who knows what we might discover about the axolotl’s secret powers next?
Don’t forget, exotic pets need vet care, too! Click here to see the AZPetVet locations that treat exotic pets
Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.