Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom
Posted Sep 03, 2009
Axolotls are fascinating creatures to keep. They are cold water animals, coming from the ice fed lakes in Mexico, so do not need aquarium heaters, and can get very ill if the temperature is too high. This is one of the two most common causes of sickness in axolotls. The other being unsuitable substrate. They should not be kept on gravel, as they eat by making a vacuum in their mouth by pushing all the water out, then just open their mouth in front of the food. They suck up whatever's in front of them, including gravel, which they then can not pass, so it ends up stuck in their digestion, and can cause a long and slow death as they can not get nutrients from their food due to the amount of gravel in their system! Sand is a good substrate to keep them on, as they can pass it out if they swallow it.
As pets they are fascinating to watch. They can become tame enough to feed from your hand, and if the tank is in a position where they can see you, they will come out when you are nearby. They walk around their tank, along the bottom, and will occasionally float about, just chilling out. They do like places to hide, such as flower pots and tubes, but once tame they will rarely be hidden.
They have a varied diet, consisting of prawns, beef heart, liver, trout pellets and earth worms. They really enjoy eating worms and will take these from your hand or from tongs.
They are a great talking point, as they are not widely seen. They are easy to breed, but the young can be fragile. They lay spawn like frogs, which hatches out in to tiny versions of the adults, with no legs. Like tadpoles.
They are not common in the UK, however with some searching and research, they can be found.
They are easy to keep as long as the main points are followed: COLD water, sand NOT gravel, water kept clean with a low flow filtration system (they do not like fast flowing water), and fed regularly!