The axolotl, an endangered amphibian, is one of those animals that is curious, to say the least, because of its appearance, very similar to a fish, but with legs. Do you want to know it better? In this article, we tell you everything! Enjoy the discovery!
- Scientific name: Ambystoma mexicanum
- Origin: Mexico
- Lifespan: Up to 15 years
- Color: Dark brown, black back and light belly. It can present other varied shades from brown to albino.
- Weight: 70-110g
- Size: 24-30cm
The axolotl salamander keeps its larval characteristics throughout its adult life. This phenomenon is known under the name of “neoteny”:
- It retains its tadpole-shaped dorsal fin, which extends almost all over its body.
- It has feathery external gills, which protrude from the back of the head.
- Thanks to these, it is able to breathe under water.
- It also has rudimentary lungs that it uses to suck air from the surface.
Character and Behavior of the Axolotl
What is the Axolotl Like?
It is actually a species of aquatic salamander, usually solitary, which can be active at any time of the day. The young specimens are more agitated, they swim non-stop and can fight at mealtime. However, over time, they tend to become calmer and less aggressive towards each other.
Caring for the Axolotl
Although the axolotl is not a very demanding animal, there are some points that should be considered to ensure its well-being:
- Maintain its environment with very good quality water.
- Prepare a large aquarium of 70-100 cm, and about 15 cm deep, which allows it to swim freely.
- Provide it with a suitable habitat in a dimly lit environment.
- Partially change the water and remove any remaining dirt from the bottom every 10-12 days.
Choose an aquarium that is large enough for your new friend to feel comfortable and happy throughout its life. Since the axolotl prefers rather stagnant water, it is recommended to use a soft activated carbon filter that resembles its natural habitat as much as possible. Also, the temperature should be maintained between 20 and 22 ºC.
Try to create a shaded environment by using floating plants that limit the passage of light. Also, enrich the place with objects in the center of the aquarium and on the glass, as the axolotl will like to swim around and stick to the walls. Finally, you can place logs at the bottom to give it a place of refuge.
In case you decide to put a light point, it is preferable to choose a bluish LED lighting.
Coexistence with Other Species
You should keep in mind that it is not highly recommended to have an aquarium with small fish and axolotls, as the latter will most likely eat them. Also, it is possible that the fish will attack the gills of the axolotls. This is not a good idea!
An Aquarium with Several Axolotls
This is only recommended if they are all adults of similar size and if they have plenty of room to live together. This is the best way to avoid quarrels between them.
What Do Axolotls Eat?
The axolotl is a carnivorous amphibian, so it must be provided with animal protein. Also, if there is anything that stimulates this little guy, it is movement and this is especially important for the newly hatched larvae to start eating. Here are the most important points about your feeding:
- Axolotl larvae eat every day.
- Their usual diet in the wild is based on mollusks, worms, insect larvae, earthworms, brine shrimp, small crustaceans and fish.
- Young or adult specimens usually feed 2 to 4 times a week.
- They eat less if the temperature is low.
- Try to remove leftover food from the aquarium.
- This provides a varied diet and also adds specific food for the amphibians.
Males VS Females
How can you tell the difference between males and females? Males are slim and have large glands around the cloaca. As for the females, they have a shorter and wider head and their body is wider to be able to contain the eggs.
There you go! If you want to have an Axolotl at home, you now know everything you should before getting it! What’s your favorite animal so far? Share your thoughts in the comments below!