Acquired: Pet store
Posted Apr 23, 2015
I had never even heard of the axolotl until my sister introduced them to me at her university's biology laboratory. Fascinating creatures, the axolotl is related to newts and salamanders with the only difference being that they maintain their gills throughout their entire lifetime - essentially causing the animal to stay in a perpetual juvenile state.
I found "Axy" at a pet store. He was swimming around in a little cup and was super tiny. He was a "mottled" axolotl, meaning that he had a dark, speckled appearance. To start with, all we needed was an aquarium tank with filter (already had left from owning fish in previous years), broken slate rocks as a substrate, and some newt food.
The axolotl really likes to have a "hide spot" so we positioned the broken slate unevenly to create that for Axy. Also, they will eat anything larger than themselves, including gravel or rocks that are used as a substrate. We had extremely large pieces of broken slate that were purchased at the recommendation of the pet store, however, fine sand may also be used as a substrate. If eaten rocks or gravel can cause an internal blockage leading to the death of the animal, so it is imperative to use the proper substrate.
As far as temperment, Axy was pleasant and super fun to watch. The main thing that I MUST stress to anyone who is thinking about getting an axolotl, they must remain in their tank. Unfortunately, we lost Axy when he was handled by someone who thought that he was a salamander. The skin of the axolotl is very sensitive and touching it brings the chance the animal will sustain an injury or infection.
I would recommend this as a pet for those 12+. They are low maintanence but maturity is needed to understand that this animal should not be handled as one would handle a regular newt/salamander.