Acquired: Worked with pet (didn’t own)
Northland, New Zealand
Posted Dec 21, 2012
A fish that can jump out of it's aquarium and walk on land.. It's what nightmares are made of and when I first came across the humble axolotl, I must admit I was not impressed. My young and creepy friend had acquired this strange species and had it living in a vivarium in his room. The axolotl is known as "the water monster" and it is a neotenic salamander, closely related to the Tiger salamander. You could say this creature was almost one of the links to evolution. The adults are aquatic creatures with gills however they can also live on land.The species originated in Mexico City and is capable of regenerating limbs if needed. An adult axolotl can reach 15 - 45 centimetres in length and they have external gills with a fin extending from the head. They also have lidless eyes which adds to the frightening aspect of their looks. They have limbs to walk with however they are not well developed. Along with gills, they also have teeth, however the way they feed through their gills. Although you can get your axolotl to metamorphosise into a salamander, it is not a good idea to just take them out of water and expect them to grow limbs. A metamorphosised axolotl will not live as long as one that is left to it's own devices. If you thought they were mega creepy, add the fact that they are cannibals and you may be put off buying them. On the flip-side, these are incredibly interesting animals that will teach your family basic science and give them a good understanding of nature and how it evolves. If you are thinking of getting an axolotl, it makes sense to research it extensively, get the right vivarium (tank) and talk to someone who has owned an axolotl in the past. They can be interesting pets but they need the right conditions to thrive.