Acquired: Online breeder / seller
New York, United States
Posted Dec 14, 2010
Mexican Axolotls have much to recommend them – unlike many salamanders, they accept non-living food and do well on relatively simple diets (I have raised several generations on 2-3 food items, please see article below). They are bold and active by day, rarely hide and are simple (almost too simple!) to breed in captivity (please see article). Their eggs are large and transparent, and the developing embryos can be easily seen as they grow and move about – wonderful for kids to observe. I’ve had several axolotls live into their teens.
Axolotl owners are in the unique position of caring for an animal that is at once nearly extinct in the wild yet bred worldwide for lab use…axolotl studies have yielded important advances in embryology and many other areas. Current research focus on their ability to regenerate limbs, which resemble our own in general design (may be useful someday for folks suffering major injuries).
Water quality is important – ammonia must be monitored – but less so than with many other salamanders. Most are stressed at temperatures over 70F, although some populations adjust well (check with your supplier). They should not be handled except when necessary, and then only with wet hands (individual in photo below had been attacked by a tank mate, and was being re-located).
Please see my articles on Axolotl Care, Breeding and Natural History for more info. You might also enjoy reading about the first time captive breeding of the axolotl’s large and equally rare relative, the