Axolotls, The Attractiveness of Mexican Walking Fish
If you’re looking for a cute pet, you have to consider an axolotl, also known as the Mexican walking fish (a misnomer, the axolotl is an amphibian, not a fish). This exotic pet is able to regenerate limbs that are severed, a source of fascination for research scientists exploring the possibility that this smiling salamander may unlock mysteries that could improve the health of humans. The Mexican Walking Fish goes straight from its early days into adulthood, with no transition through adolescence. So, if you’re enduring the moods, tempers, and hormones of a pubescent son or daughter, take some time to stare into your axolotl’s tank and enjoy that smile. Consider it a form of therapy as you wonder why science hasn’t discovered a way for humans to easily pass from childhood to adulthood, bypassing adolescence like the exotic animal. This peaceful pet can help you weather those tumultuous teenage years. Even if you’re not the parent of a teen, you’ll enjoy your axolotl just as much, because these exotic pets are a peaceful addition to any household. And while we don’t wish to cast aspersions on those furry, four-legged members of the family, we can’t help but mention another bonus when you choose the axolotl for a pet: no odor! Top that, Spot and Miss Meow!
What is the Axolotl Pet Like?
Axolotl has a lifespan of at least 15 years, and they smile. These animals are peaceful and very easy to maintain. Although they might “bite” if you’re hand-feeding them, they have rubbery teeth that don’t inflict damage or hurt. They’re solitary by nature, but with some training, they can be taught to react to their owner’s hand signals.
What Does the Axolotl Baby Look Like?
As babies, these cute exotic animals, at just half an inch in length, do look much like the adults they will become. But it’s within three to four weeks that they really begin to take on their adult look, showing gills, tails, and fully developed limbs.
Are Axolotls Cute?
They certainly are—how can you resist a salamander with a smile! They also come in different colors, giving you a variety of choices from which to select a favorite.
Are Axolotls Hard To Care For?
Actually, as long as axolotls are given proper care, they’re fairly easy to maintain, once they’ve made it past the delicate stage early in their life cycle. They shouldn’t be kept out of the water for any longer than a couple of minutes.
What is the Axolotl Price?
Axolotl price depends on different factors, including the axolotl’s age, size, colors, and location of purchase. The cost is typical $15 to $40 when bought at a pet store or online. However, if you’re purchasing your pet online, be prepared to pay a shipping fee of $20 to $30 for two-day delivery and $40 to $50 for one-day delivery.
What Are The Prices of Axolotl According to Age?
If you purchase an axolotl in the early stages of life, that extra nurturing that is required during this delicate time affects the amount you will spend. The cost will be lower, at approximately $20 to $35. Adults will cost $65 to $70.
What Do Axolotls Eat?
Axolotls eat bloodworms (which are actually midge larvae, not worms), that can be purchased from a local pet store or ordered online. They do like earthworms, blackworms, and bait worms too. Once a week, you might want to treat your axolotl to cubed, frozen brine shrimp, which tastes great—if you’re an axolotl, that is—and nutritious, providing vitamins, fatty acids, and lipids to keep your pet healthy.
Do Axolotls Eat Gravel?
Yes, they do and it’s actually not a bad thing. The gravel that’s consumed provides a grinding action for the food, similar to the manner in which birds utilize grit to break down food so they can digest it. The gravel in its body also regulates the axolotl’s buoyancy.
When Should Axolotls Be Fed?
In the early stages of life, which includes eggs, babies, and young, axolotls are delicate and require special attention. Until your axolotl reaches maturity, it should be fed daily. After they’ve hit that milestone, your cute exotic pet can be fed every other day.
How Much To Feed An Axolotl
When your axolotl leaves its juvenile stage and approaches adulthood and is from six to 12 inches long, it should be fed a one-quarter-inch pellet every day. Remove any uneaten pellets after 24 hours. When full-grown, the axolotl only needs to be fed two to four times a week. If you’re feeding them by hand, they’ll be more responsive when they really have an appetite.
I’m Going On Vacation: How Do I Feed My Axolotl?
Axolotls can go without food for a couple of weeks, but in order to avoid causing stress for your pet, you can leave a group of live feeder fish in the tank. When your axolotl is hunger, he’ll happily hunt his dinner.
What Should An Axolotl Tank Include?
For a single adult axolotl, a 10-gallon tank will be enough and it costs anywhere from $15 to $170. Because axolotls spend most of their days at the bottom of the tank, they need something to grip, we recommend adding a substrate such as sand to the tank bottom. The Mexican walking fishes can dig in and play and if they happen to ingest some of it, there’s no danger.
Does The Axolotl Prefer Hot Or Cold Water?
The axolotl needs to live in cold water that’s between 61 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water in the tank is warmer than this, you might need to buy a cooler.
Does The Axolotl Tank Need a Filter?
The axolotl needs a clean tank in order to thrive and this is why a filter is recommended. You can expect to pay up to $165 for the best filtration system.
What Accessories Should the Axolotl Tank Include?
Axolotls like to hide, so adding plants, live or plastic, caves, and small hides to the tank will keep the axolotl happy. Prices for these items range from as little as a dollar to $30 for these tank accessories
How Should The Axolotl Tank Be Maintained?
If you choose an Axolotl tank that’s big enough, you don’t have to clean it as often. As long as you remove waste (easy to do, as the axolotl excretes in a single noticeable piece) and uneaten food immediately, the water stays cleaner.
What Is The Cost of Veterinary Care For An Axolotl?
A routine checkup for your pet will cost you between $40 and $60. Emergency treatment will cost at least $100. One way to keep your axolotl healthy is to make sure it avoids bloating when you feed it. Because an axolotl has a vacuum cleaner approach to eating—it sucks up its food—it’s prone to bloating, a condition in which excessive gas content causes the stomach to be overstretched.
How Is Bloating Treated?
Axolotls who are suffering from bloating will need medicine daily. You can use laxatives that are safe for humans as long as they aren’t flavored. The tank will need a daily change of water that’s clean and cold. Tap water is okay, as long as it’s as cold as possible. During this time, you should not use filters or activated charcoal filters.
What Are The Different Types of Axolotl?
There are three different classifications of axolotl based upon the colors of this exotic animal: Basic Colors; Uncommon or Special Colors; and Rare Colors. The cost of the axolotl is based upon its color.
What Are the Axolotl Colors?
An axolotl’s color is decided by chromatophores or pigment cells with so many variations that you can easily choose one to match your favorite shades.
Wild Type Axolotl
This axolotl type displays dark brown, black, and shades of green with yellow or gold iridophore speckles; its dark eyes have a yellow ring circling the pupils.
A leucistic axolotl is whitish-pink in color with dark eyes and gills that are pink or red. They can sometimes have gray or dark freckles on the head and back.
The albino axolotl is white and resembles its leucistic relative, but has pink eyes instead of dark ones. Although they do not have dark color pigments, they display iridophores.
Golden Albino Axolotl
These pets have a yellow or golden color with clear eyes, peach-colored gills, and shiny patches upon their skin.
Similar to the wild type axolotl, the melanoid possesses more dark pigment, making this a solid black specimen.
This variety has a mostly white body and faint yellow speckles on the head and back.
Extremely rare, the chimera cannot be duplicated by breeding. Its split-color variation makes it look as if it’s half wild-type, and half leucistic. If you would happen to come upon one for sale, you can expect to pay as much as $2000.
The mosaic, like the chimera, is difficult to breed and is usually infertile.
Possibly a variation of its leucistic kin, the piebald has more pronounced darker colors that extend from head to the sides and tail.
Silver Dalmatian Axolotl (also known as the purple or lavender axolotls)
Purple with spots, the silver Dalmatian is rare.
With its dark green body and yellow speckles, the enigma resembles the wild type but their yellow coloring is more conspicuous.
Bred as an experiment and resembling either the mosaic or the leucistic axolotl in tail color, the firefly was first produced in 2016.
Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) Axolotl
These glow-in-the-dark axolotls owe their coloring to that GFP that gives them a green glow under UV light.
The copper belongs in the albino category. It has a light brownish-pink body with brown spots and reddish eyes.
What Is The Axolotl Habitat?
The axolotl can be found in freshwater lakes and ponds in Mexico. For axolotls, Mexico’s Lake Xochimilco, located in southern Mexico City, is the place they call home. However, their popularity as pets has brought them to water tanks, aquariums, and research laboratories all over the planet.
How Are Axolotls Being Encouraged To Breed In Their Natural Habitat?
Researchers are building shelters in Xochimilco with reedy plants and rocks that act as filters surrounding designated breeding areas. Clean water is pumped into the area where their habitat remains in order to create better conditions for breeding.
Does The Axolotl Have Predators?
The threats that have endangered the axolotl—urbanization, and pollution–have not come from predators in the wild. However, carp and tilapia do number among those who regard the Mexican walking fish as tasty prey.
Are Axolotls Endangered?
Pollution in Lake Xochimilco and Mexican urbanization have brought this exotic animal to a state of critical endangerment. In 1998, there were more than 2,000 axolotls recorded per square mile; by 2014, that number was down to 14.
What is Axolotl Regeneration?
The axolotl that’s native to the region of Central America has the astonishing ability to regrow lost limbs, gills, tails, internal organs, spinal cord, eyes, and parts of the brain. This ability has naturally attracted the attention of scientists. The ability to regenerate body parts is shared with other salamanders, but the exotic pet beats them all in this unique trait.
How Does the Axolotl Regenerate Body Parts?
When an axolotl loses a limb, the site of the wound heals over in a few hours with minimal bleeding. Cells quickly cover the site of the injury with a wound epidermis. In a couple of days, the wound epidermis cells form a cone-shaped blasema which grows into a new body part.
Why Are Scientists Researching Axolotls?
The axolotl’s complex genome has 32 billion base pairs, compared to humans, which have only three billion base pairs. Scientists are riveted to this DNA map so that they can figure out why axolotls can regenerate a perfect replica of just about any of its body parts.
What Are Some Astonishing Axolotl Facts?
- The protein c-Fos is the reason why axolotls can regenerate missing organs and limbs within a few weeks.
- Axolotls heal without scarring.
- The axolotl can regrow a missing body part up to five times. By the fifth time, most of the parts are unable to grow to their former ability, and scar tissue forms.
- The axolotl is one thousand times more resistant to cancer than are other mammals, inspiring hopes that science will eventually decode this resistance to benefit humans.
- Although axolotls keep their gills, they also possess fully functional lungs and will frequently rise to the water surface for air.
- Axolotls haven’t discovered the Fountain of Youth, but they do stay young-looking all the years of their lives. That’s because of something called “neoteny” which means that they maintain larval features like feathery gills and tadpole-like fins all through their adult years.
How Long Is The Axolotl’s Life Expectancy?
Domestic life lends years to this salamander; their natural life span is around 15 years, but captivity can extend their expectancy to 20 years.
Do Axolotls Make Good Pets?
Axolotls might be described as a peaceful predator; they only show aggression when they’re trying to catch food. Otherwise, they explore the bottom of the tank like any happy beachcomber. They can even share the tank with another Mexican walking fish without showing territorial conflict, as long as the tank is big enough.
How Does the Axolotl Get Its Name?
The axolotl claims an exotic origin for its name. According to Aztec mythology, Xolotl was a dog-headed deity of fire, lightning, deformities, and death. In an effort to avoid being sacrificed, Xolotl transformed himself into the axolotl in order to hide.
When Is The Axolotl Breeding Season?
By the time the axolotl is six months old, it has reached sexual maturity. The breeding season takes place in spring, roughly from March to June. The spawning happens in late winter. In the wild, breeding happens once a year, although axolotl in captivity may undergo two or three breeding cycles.
What Is the Axolotl Breeding Ritual?
Would you believe, a dance? The mating begins with a circular dance, involves what might be described as “heavy petting”, continues with tail-shaking, and concludes with the female picking up the male’s sperm cap followed by fertilization.
What Is the Female’s Egg-Laying Process?
The female individually lays between 300 and 1,000 eggs in the water, each attached to a protective substrate. In two weeks, the eggs hatch and they’re on their own.
There you have it, all the reasons why choosing these best exotic pets might just be the easiest decision you’ll ever make. Not only are they so easy to take care of that, if you have gone away for a week or so, you can leave food in the tank and know that they can manage on their own, but when you come back, your axolotl will greet you with that same familiar smile. A smiling exotic pet that you can color coordinate with room décor? It sounds like a pet owner heaven, doesn’t it? Imagine the possibilities that are yours when you add an axolotl to your household!