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An Axolotl is actually the larval form of the Mexican Salamander. Although it is commonly known as the 'Mexican Walking Fish', it is a true amphibian and not a fish. It is not known exactly why an axolotl does not go on to develop into a salamander but it is thought to be low levels of iodine in the water and the restricted space in an aquarium that prevents further development.

Axolotl can live for 12 years and grow to about 40 cm in size. They like to live in a large aquarium filled with fresh water to a depth of 20 cm. It is also important to provide a rock for them to rest upon. The water should be kept at a constant temperature, not above 26 degrees celcius or below 14 degrees celcius.

Axolotl have weak eyesight and they do not seem to be used for finding food. Axolotl find food by smell and by lateral line organs located along the sides of their head and trunk. These detect motion and pressure.

Axolotl will eat only while in water. They like tadpoles, softbodied insects and worms but mince steak, dog or cat food or scraps of beef or lamb will suffice. Commercial tubifex worms are also available but should not be fed exclusively as these can lead to liver problems. Axolotl only need to be fed 2 to 3 times a week and old, uneaten food should always be removed. They can easily be tamed to eat out of your hand. Axolotl cannot be kept in a tank with other fish as they will eat the fish. They also cannot survive out of water.

Like most amphibians, Axolotl are very fragile and you should not handle them unless it is absolutely necessary (i.e. moving them to another container for cleaning). They are best picked up by grasping around the head and forebody, rather than the middle of the body as they are rather slippery.

Axolotl are well known for their ability to regenerate body parts. They are able to regenerate gills, limbs, tail, damaged skin tissue, heart, liver, kidney tissue, parts of their peripheral and central nervous systems.

An Axolotl is a fun pet and fairly easy to maintain. Keeping an axolotl can become an interesting and absorbing hobby and it often become a well-loved member of the family.

Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia

Last Update: 24/03/07 15:35 Views: 16972

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