The Axolotl on the Brink of Extinction
The fascinating Axolotl is a Critically Endangered Species.
Have you ever heard of the Axolotl? Also known as
the Mexican Walking Fish or Water Monster, this unique creature is not a fish
at all, but rather a type of salamander.
Native to Mexico, the Axolotl is a captivating
amphibian that has captured the hearts of many but their existence is
threatened by urbanisation. So today, I
thought we might explore what makes them so special, their endangered status,
and how we might be able to help preserve their existence.
The Axolotl is a rather unique species
What sets the Axolotl apart from other amphibians
is its ability to remain in its larval form throughout its entire life. While
most amphibians undergo metamorphosis and transition to a terrestrial
lifestyle, the Axolotl retains its gills and remains aquatic. This remarkable
feature, known as neoteny, gives them a distinct appearance and behaviour.
With their external gills, feathery fronds, and a
wide range of colours including shades of pink, white, and black, Axolotls are
truly a sight to behold. They have the ability to regenerate lost body parts,
making them even more extraordinary. This regenerative power has fascinated
scientists and has the potential for groundbreaking medical research.
The plight of the poor old Axolotl.
Despite their unique qualities, Axolotls face a
severe threat to their survival. They are currently listed as critically
endangered on the IUCN Red List. The main reason for the decline in their
numbers is the loss of their natural habitat due to urbanization and pollution. Additionally, introduced rather nasty species
such as tilapias and perch in their native habitats find Axolotls to be
delicious and this situation is also contributing to their decline in the wild.
It is essential that we take action to protect and
conserve these incredible creatures before they disappear forever. One way we
can contribute is by considering them as pets.
Breeding and Pet Keeping of
By breeding Axolotls in captivity, we can help
increase their numbers and reduce the pressure on their wild populations.
Axolotls are relatively easy to care for and can be kept as pets in home
aquariums. However, it is crucial to provide them with the specific conditions
they need to thrive.
Care Requirements for Keeping
Axolotls as Pets.
1. Aquarium Size: Axolotls require a spacious tank
with a minimum size of 90 Litres/20 gallons for a single adult. A larger tank
is recommended for multiple Axolotls or if you plan on breeding them.
2. Water Temperature: Axolotls prefer cooler water
temperatures between 15°C and 20°C (60°F and 68°F). It is essential to maintain
a stable temperature to ensure their well-being.
3. Filtration: A good filtration system is
necessary to keep the water clean and free from harmful substances. Axolotls
are sensitive to ammonia and nitrites, so regular water changes are also
4. Substrate: Use a soft substrate such as sand or
smooth gravel to prevent any injuries to their delicate skin.
5. Hiding Places: Provide hiding spots like caves
or plants to create a sense of security for your Axolotls.
6. Feeding: Axolotls are carnivorous and primarily
eat live or frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and small fish. It
is important to provide a varied diet to ensure their nutritional needs are
7. Lighting: Axolotls prefer low lighting
conditions, so it is recommended to use subdued lighting in their tank.
8. Water Quality: Regular testing of water
parameters such as pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates is crucial to maintain
optimal water quality for your Axolotls.
9. Handling: Axolotls have delicate skin and are
sensitive to chemicals. It is best to avoid handling them unless necessary, and
when you do, ensure your hands are clean and free from lotions or soaps.
10. Education and Research: Continuously educate
yourself on Axolotl care and behavior to provide the best possible environment
for your pet.
Top 10 Reasons to Keep Axolotls
1. Unique and captivating appearance
2. Fascinating behaviour and regenerative
3. Low maintenance compared to other pets
4. Relaxing to watch in their aquatic habitat
5. Educational opportunities for children and
6. Potential for contributing to scientific
7. They can live for up to 15 years in captivity
8. They are peaceful and can be kept with
compatible fish species
9. Axolotls are a great conversation starter
10. By keeping them as pets, we contribute to
their conservation and preservation
The Axolotl is a remarkable little fella that
deserves our attention and care. By understanding their unique qualities,
supporting conservation efforts, and considering them as pets, we can help
ensure their survival for generations to come. Let’s work together to protect
these extraordinary amphibians and appreciate the wonders of nature.