The axolotl is a curious creature that has become a world fascination and popular pet choice. These creatures originate from Mexico and have been bred in captivity for many years. Here are ten fantastic facts about axolotls that will make you want your own as a pet.
Axolotls are native to one place in the world
The axolotl can only be found in one place in the world, Mexico City. They’re only native to two high-altitude lakes, although, sadly, due to one of the lakes being drained because of flooding, they can now only be found in the wild in one. Lake Xochimilco in southern Mexico City is the only place where they still exist in the wild.
This curious creature comes in a variety of colors
Most axolotls we see online or in pet stores are white with pinkish features. However, in the wild, they can be completely different colors. They tend to be brown or black with olive green or gold patterns.
The lighter-colored axolotls that we are perhaps more familiar with are bred to be this way. These are often the albino, pink, and leucitic species, which have reduced pigmentation in their skin.
They are an endangered species
The axolotl is an endangered species, primarily due to the loss of natural habitat. As mentioned above, axolotls are only found in two lakes in Mexico City. But due to one being drained, there is now only one place on earth where they have to live outside of captivity. As of 2022, it’s estimated that there are only between 700-1,200 left in the wild.
They never show signs of aging!
These unique creatures are part of the salamander family. However, unlike all other salamanders, they don’t undergo metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is the transition from being a juvenile form to an adult. Axolotls never outgrow their larval stage, and this is called neoteny.
Axolotls can regenerate new body parts
Like salamanders, axolotls can grow new limbs and tails like other amphibians, such as fish. What makes them different is that they can also regenerate their jaws, skin, spinal cords, and organs. This is a rare and unique capability not seen elsewhere in the animal kingdom.
The axolotl is the Aztec god of fire and lightning
In the Aztec world, the legend is that Xolotl, the god of fire and lightning, transformed into an axolotl. The legend is that he used this disguise to hide from being sacrificed. Axolotls appear regularly in Aztec culture and have been around for millions of years.
Finding a mate involves dancing
Just when you thought they couldn’t get any cuter, they dance with their mates during courtship. When they reach sexual maturity at one year old, they search for a mate. February is the mating season, so when the male is ready, he performs the ‘hula’ dance.