I have this (possibly weird?) obsession with cute squishy aquatic creatures like squid, octopi, cuttlefish, and especially jellyfish... And one more interesting animal I've been super fascinated by is the axolotl. If you've never heard of an axolotl (pronounced ACK-suh-LAH-tuhl) before, read on!
It is pretty much a real-life Pokemon XD I only just recently found that they are actually NOT illegal in Hawaii! Our friend that owns a pet store here brought some in for me, so now I have one!
This is "Kiwi" when we first got him:
He is a Green Florescent Pigmented Axolotl and glows under black light.
I'm not sure how old he is but I've had him for 8 weeks now. He is surprisingly uncomplicated to care for, and is very entertaining to watch. I post videos & pics of him swimming n stuff on my Instagram.
Here's some facts about axolotls:
- It is a species of salamander (not to be confused with the waterdog aka tiger salamander)
- It remains in a larval stage throughout its adult life
- Lives permanently in water, up to 15 years
- It is carnivorous. Eats worms, shrimp/fish-based pellets, etc.
- They exist in the wild in only one place, the lake complex of Xochimilco near Mexico City
- Wild types are typically black or mottled brown. Other colors exist such as albino and white varieties, particularly among captive specimens. Wild populations are in decline due to habitat loss and pollution. Wild axolotls are considered a critically endangered species :(
- Can be quite large, reaching up to a foot in length, although the average size is closer to half that.
- Rather than forming scar tissue when wounded, tissues at the wound site convert to a stem cell-like state, meaning that they are able to re-grow missing tissue in its entirety, even a whole limb (HOW COOL IS THAT?!)
Kiwi more recently:
He is now about 3.5in long. In the first picture you could see he was missing most of his toes. They have since grown back :) The frilly things coming from his head are gills.
Axolotls have poor eyesight, so he relies on smell to find his food (I feed him sinking shrimp fish food pellets). Axolotls are messy eaters and make a lot of waste, so the tank collects particles. I siphon out the junk and do a water change once a week. Axolotls need to be kept in cool, de-chlorinated water, the optimum range is 60-64 °F. Apparently if they get heat-sick, it's a good idea to put them in the fridge (I've never had to do this so far). All in all, a very cool creature and I am glad to have him! Expect to see more of this little guy on my blog :)
Have you heard of axolotls before? What do you think?