When shopping for a new pet, most of us are probably leaning toward a cat, a dog, or a fish. That’s perfectly natural, but some people still opt for stranger options, like the little axolotl. Small, cute, and slimy, this companion seems to be taking the world by storm. Requiring little care and attention, the axolotl can be the perfect companion for first-time pet owners. However, you need to learn how they are in the wild to take better care of them. Let’s take a look and see what we need to know about our aquatic friends and their controversial status.
All About Axolotls
Axolotls are a type of salamander native to Mexico that can live up to 15 years in the wild. They are also known as the walking fish for their amphibian lifestyle. Axolotls can be found in a variety of colors and patterns, most notably black, white, or gold.
It’s worth mentioning that these little fellows don’t go through metamorphosis and instead remain aquatic their entire lives. That means they should be handled with extreme caution, so as not to hurt them.
Axolotls are not particularly social animals, so they don’t require any tank partners. You should definitely not mix them up with other species, especially fish, as they will try to eat them. Even other axolotls can end up as prey, so the best bet is to raise them in separate enclosures.
An axolotl in the wild will usually eat snails, small fish, and worms. When it comes to those in captivity, avoid feeding them fish or worms you caught yourself as they might contain parasites. Most axolotl owners prefer to feed them small stripes of liver, beef, and shrimp. It’s important to know your axolotl’s age and size, as the amount of food they require will vary.
Unlike most amphibians, axolotls don’t require a dry area in the enclosure. Instead, they prefer different depths of water, with shallow and deep areas aplenty. When it comes to size, a 15-20 gallon fish tank is a good choice. The size will ensure that your little friend will have plenty of space to swim. And lastly, avoid placing the tank in bright sunlight and always make sure the temperature doesn’t go above 75°F.
There is a bit of controversy when it comes to owning an axolotl, as they are considered an endangered species. The majority of pet axolotls are descendants of bred animals, usually used for scientific purposes. Furthermore, some states, like California and New Jersey, have laws against owning axolotls. Before buying one, make sure that your state allows it and the person selling it is a reputable breeder.
Let’s Get Swimming!
All in all, it’s easy to see why axolotls are starting to gain popularity. They are easy to care for and are adorable to look at. However, the controversy surrounding their status will surely make some people want to free their axolotl in the wild. Nevertheless, people that choose to stick with this aquatic friend will enjoy their company for years to come.