I'm starting a new feature called Pet Of The Week to allow me to research and learn more about the animals we sell at my new place of work. First up, we have the axolotl.
The axolotl is known by it's official name; Ambystoma mexicanum or more commonly as the Mexican salamander or Mexican walking fish. It is closely related to the tiger salamander but it is fully aquatic and spends its entire life underwater. They originate from spefic freshwater lakes, including Lake Xochimilco which lies underneath Mexico City. Sadly, they are registered as critically endangered in regards to conservation status as their young are often eaten by non-native fish which have been introduced into their habitats.
The axolotl is usually around 9inches long but can reach up to 18inches! They live for around 10 to 15 years. They look quite reptilian, they have 4 legs and a long tail similar to that of a tadpole. They also have gill stalks around their heads which move the oxygenated water over their gills. They can come in four colours; the most common are brown with spots and black, and less commonly, albino and pale pink with black eyes.
Axolotls prefer temperatures of 17 to 18 °C and can usually be found at the bottom of the tank. They eat trout and salmon pellets, bloodworm, earthworms and waxworms in captivity, but eat insects and small fish in the wild as they are carnivorous. They can eat smaller tank mates and are apparently prone to cannibalism!! They also suck their prey into their stomachs with vacuum force!
Fascinating Fact: Axolotls have the ability to regenerate and grow their limbs if they become damaged!