Cute Mexican Critters #1

13 Mar

Axolotl

The axolotl is a type of salamander, native to Mexico. It’s scientific name is Ambystoma mexicanum. The common pet or laboratory Axolotl refers exclusively to A. mexicanum, although in Mexico the term Axolotl is used in reference to several species of Ambystoma, and is considered an edible food source!

The Axolotl is neotenic, meaning that it doesn’t routinely undergo metamorphosis from the larval to adult form, as happens with most other salamanders. Instead, the larval form (with gills) becomes sexually mature and reproduces, maintaining a strictly aquatic life style. Under some circumstances, the Axolotl can undergo metamorphosis into a terrestrial from, although this can be stressful on the animal.

The Axolotl has amazing regenerative abilities – if injured, even to the point of losing a body part, the Axolotl will heal readily and even regenerate lost bits. They are fairly hardy creatures that can be expected to live up to 10-15 years with attention to proper care, particularly with respect to water quality. 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 potentially be housed together but watch for cannibalistic tendencies. Of course, if a body part gets bitten off by a tank mate, an axolotl can regenerate it over time.

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