Have you recently realized that axolotls are super cute? If so, you’re not alone. These lovable amphibians are riding a wave of popularity. If you’re considering keeping one, you’ll want to do some research first, as they do have some specific care needs. A Middletown, DE vet offers some basci care information on this adorable little guy below.
Axolotls originated in Lake Xochimilco, which is in the Valley of Mexico, as well as the canals and waterways around Mexico City. They were imported to Europe for pets and also research purposes back in the 1800’s. Their history goes much further back than that, though: legend has it that the Aztec god Axolotl transformed into a salamander to keep from being sacrificed. Technically a salamander, the axolotl is unique among amphibians, in that they do not undergo any sort of metamorphosis as they grow. These guys can live up to 15 years, and can grow over a foot long.
You can offer your pet a variety of meat, such as bloodworms, frozen brine, and even beef heart. They do prefer live food, so you’ll need to ‘wiggle’ your pet’s dinner to make it look like it’s moving.
Axolotls require cool, clean water. You’ll need a good-sized aquarium which has been properly cycled. For one axolotl, a 15-gallon tank is sufficient, as long as it’s more wide than tall. The water should be still, and should stay between 60 and 65°F, with the pH levels between 6.5 and 8. You’ll need to be diligent about keeping the tank clean and completely free of ammonia, nitrates and nitrite: those levels should all be 0. As far as tank setup, you can use sand for substrate. Add plants, caves, and pots for hiding spaces, and an air stone for oxygenation. Ask your vet for more information.
Axolotls are not the feistiest exotics: they are usually pretty sedentary, and spend most of their time just relaxing and looking adorable. Keep in mind that these guys are easily stressed out. Being handled, bright lights, poor water quality, and overcrowding can all make them unhappy and uneasy. They’re not extremely social, and can live with or without roommates. Just keep in mind that adults may bully juveniles. Ask your vet for specific care tips.
Do you have questions about pet care? Contact us, your Middletown, DE animal clinic, anytime!