The Axolotl

Scienfic Name:- Ambystona mexicanum

The Axolotl is the permanent larval form of a salamander native to Mexico.   They were first recorded in 1863 by French Zoologist Auguste Dumeril,   but had been known to the Aztecs since the 15th century.   They have been popular pets due to their unusual appearance.   Throughout history,   axolotls have been used as a food source,   for medicinal purposes and in the original cities in Mexico,   as currency to pay the builders.

Their skin and gills are very sensitive and quite soft,   so handling is not recommended.   Juvenile axolotls can be cannibalistic towards each other,   so they are best raised in separate enclosures.   Adults can be housed together but injuries and bite wounds are common.   These cute Amphibians are wholly aquatic and can regenerate limbs.   They are known for their individual personalities.

Habitat :- Axolotls can get quite large up to 12 inches long,   so at least a 70-100L tank is advisable.   The tank should have a filter with a slow filtration rate to avoid strong currents in the water.   The filter intake should not be in a position to trap the gills.   A siphon can be used to vacuum the bottom of the tank,   and a 20% water change should be done weekly (full water changes alter the chemistry of the water too drastically).   Tap water should have any chlorine or chloramines removed using commercially available solutions.

The tank should be kept in a cool room away from bright sunlight.   The water temperature should be kept cool,   between 14-20oC (57-68oF) but never above 24oC (75oF).   A hiding place such as a half flower pot or aquarium type castle is appreciated.

Axolotls can be voracious eaters so gravel can pose a threat to their digestive system.   Large pieces of smooth slate are useful to provide a substrate for the bottom of the tank that can not be eaten.

Diet :- In the wild,   they feed on snails,   worms,   crustaceans,   small fish,   and other small amphibians.   In captivity,   they can be fed brine shrimp,   earthworms (wild caught worms can carry parasites),   bloodworms,   tubifex worms,   or commercial fish pellets (e.g. salmon or trout pellets).   If feeding fresh items it is best to feed a variety to get a better balance in the diet.   Uneaten food should be removed from the tank daily.

Life expectancy :- 15 years.

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