The axolotl is an incredible creature that many people don’t know about. They are similar to salamanders, but they belong to a totally different genus! There are several theories as to why this species has never been more popular.
One theory is that because they are so rare and hard to find, it can seem like you have to be rich or crazy to enjoy them.
Another reason is that most individuals who do learn about the axolotl choose instead to admire their beautiful skin or desire to keep one as a pet, making it very difficult to find one in captivity. This is particularly true if you aren’t planning to breed your animal.
There is also the misconception that all axolots die within twenty minutes of being submerged in water. Some will, but there are some animals that take much longer than that!
While these reasons may sound discouraging, they actually pose quite the opposite problem for those interested in rescuing one. Because they are such elusive creatures, few people ever ask whether someone willing to adopt an axolotl is able to survive its initial death.
If possible, would-be owners should make sure that their home is free of liquid and contains adequate shelter and food, but beyond that, nothing special should be needed.
Care for an axolotl
The best place to get your new axolotl is from a reputable breeder or aquarium seller. Make sure they are licensed and that their facilities are clean!
Axolotls need a large, well-ventilated tank with lots of hiding places. They also enjoy plants and aquatic vegetation. A simple glass container will work just fine if you don’t have access to a bigger tank at first.
Be careful not to overfeed them as this can cause health problems. Also remember that axolotls do eat meat so make sure there is enough food available for them!
Sadly, most people don’t take very good care of theirs after buying them which is why it may be hard to find someone who has a healthy one.
Costs of axolotl care
The most expensive food item at the aquarium where I work is an axolotl! They can cost up to $1,000 per individual due to the time it takes to get them ready for adoption. This includes medical exams, nutrition assessments, weight gain or loss due to changing densities, socialization training, and introduction to a new home.
Axolots are not bred in captivity so they do not have offspring that need feeding, which cuts down on baby products like milk that require frequent replenishment. Because they are aquatic animals, water changes and appropriate levels of salt must be monitored to ensure their health. These costs add up quickly!
Fortunately, funds are available to help offset some of these expenses. People who love amphibians may donate to reptile rescue organizations, wildlife rehabilitation centers, or zoos with captive breeding programs. Many major animal shelters offer low-cost or free housing for axolotls while they look for their forever homes.
Nutrition and water for the axolotl
Important things you should know about axolotls before buying them
1) They love to eat
Axolotl owners will need to make sure their animals are hungry, but they do not enjoy eating alone. As mentioned earlier, axolotls love to groom themselves so having a large enough aquarium space for this is important.
2) They need lots of sunlight and fresh air
This may seem obvious, but both depend on the tank your animal is in! If possible, keep the aquarium glass or plastic clear to allow as much exposure to light and air as possible.
3) Make sure the environment is stable and consistent
Just like people, aquatic life requires some kind of routine to thrive. In fact, many species develop social structures depending on how much interaction there is with their peers.
4) Give the animal plenty to drink
Many axolotls have very specific requirements when it comes to liquid. Some require only cloudy water, while others prefer freshwater or saltwater.
5) Keep the temperature constant
Most axolotls can handle temperatures up to 5° colder than warmest surroundings, so if your axolt does not appear to be active then increase the temperature by one degree at a time until he/she reacts.
Repotting your axolotl
After you take care of your axolotl for the first time, it is important to learn how to re-pot or refresh its habitat. This can be done by either replacing the aquarium with another container or adding new soil and/or rocks in the current one.
The most common reason why axolotls do not like their surroundings is because they are hungry and there is nothing left to eat! Before taking your axolotl food off, make sure to give it some kind of surface to grow on so that it does not starve to death.
Another cause of lack of interest in the tank area may be due to stress. If your axolotl is experiencing health issues such as breathing problems, consider moving it to a healthier environment.
Since axolotls naturally munch on insects, giving them a more diverse diet will help promote growth.
When to hatch an axolotl
The best time to hatch your baby axolotl is when they are between one and two months old. At this stage, they have enough of their body shape in place to make it possible to identify them as an axolotl!
They will look like a small, white, round fish with long skinny arms that grow longer as they get older.
There are several reasons why having hatching season at this age is important. First, it helps protect the animal from disease or infections. Second, it allows for better growth because the animals can use their energy on other things instead of developing muscles to hold themselves together.
Third, it gives them more time to bond with their parents before they are separated.
When to breed your axolotl
The best time to procreate is when an empty plate exists! This can be done by holding a baby or breeding two adults together.
The hard part about keeping an axolotl as a pet is deciding when it is time to get them both into mating mode! If you are planning on having more than one, then now is the time to do so!
Never force an animal into sexual activity if they don’t want to, but there are ways to tell if they are wanting this. A male axolotl may grow darker markings around their face and body, while females will develop thicker fur and larger pads on their feet.
There are also ways to check for fertility in males such as observing penile eversion (when the penis rolls up inside of the body) and/or testicular enlargement. For females, checking for vaginal redness and/or discharge is another way to determine if they are fertile.
Mating an axolotl is quite straightforward, but there are some things you should know before trying it! The most important thing to note about mating axolots is that they are not necessarily monogamous. Many individuals will find mates of various sexes or even just opposite sex partners to be attractive. This can make introducing a new partner very difficult!
There are many theories as to why this may occur. Some say that since males and females don’t pair off for birth, they have no incentive to stay together. Others believe that because they live such long lives, they don’t need each other like younger animals do. A third theory is that due to their large size, they feel less dependent on each other than smaller species would.
Whatever the reason, individual axolots seem to be different when it comes to relationships.
What to do with your axolotl
The best way to handle and care for your axolotl is by using good quality, non-chlorinated water and ensuring that they are exposed to adequate light. Make sure their fins grow out as well!
If you plan to show your animal at a local exhibit or competition, then make sure to research what animals need to be vaccinated and/or treated for infectious diseases. This will ensure it does not get sick in front of many people!
Sadly, most axolotls do not survive past two weeks due to poor housing and dehydration. Because of this, individuals who wish to keep an axolotl as a pet should try to give it its own home. Many aquatic stores offer terraria which are large bowls or trays filled with wet soil and rocks where the axolotl can dive into to find food.