Some axolotl owners report they have heard their axolotl making strange noises. Are these claims true? Do axolotls make noise?
It can be very startling to hear a noise coming from your axolotl aquarium. After all, these amphibians are known to be very quiet. However, some people swear they have heard sounds coming from their axie’s aquarium.
Do Axolotls Make Noise?
Axolotls are capable of making some noises. However, these noises don’t come from their vocal cords since they don’t have any. Instead, the noises you hear may be from the animal gulping air from the surface of the water, which can result in a hiccuping or squeaking sound.
If you are concerned about your axolotl making noises, this guide can help you find out what kind of noises you can sometimes expect to hear from your axolotl aquarium and what causes these noises.
As an owner of an axolotl, I have related here my own experiences in raising an axie. I have also added scientific research which shows why axolotls make noise and what to do in case this happens.
What Kind of Noises Do Axolotls Make?
Axolotl, like all salamanders, are very quiet animals and typically do not make much noise. In fact, there are people who have owned axolotls for years and have never heard the animal make any noise at all.
When these animals do make noise, they are small hiccup, popping, or squeaky noises. These sounds are typically produced when an axolotl breathes through its lungs or buccopharyngeal membrane. This only happens when the salamander comes to the surface of the water in the aquarium.
As they breathe, their muscles contract to allow air to pass through their mouth. This may result in a small sound that is like a squeaky hiccup.
Most of the time, though, you will not even hear this voice at all since axolotls are fully aquatic animals and have gills for breathing.
Do Axolotls Bark?
You may have heard stories about how some people have heard their axolotl make a barking noise.
For an axolotl, this is simply not possible.
Axolotls do not have any vocal organs. In fact, they cannot even hear either. They do, however, sense vibrations.
As we mentioned above, axolotls are capable of making some noise, but these noises are not voluntary and are a result of muscular contractions. Plus, there is no need for them to be vocal.
Axolotls do not have any mating calls, hunting calls, or helping calls. In their natural habitat, axolotls are at the top of the food chain, which means they do not have any need of making loud noises to scare away predators.
In addition, they do not depend upon echolocation to navigate the waters.
Instead, axolotls have poor eyesight, which they use to perceive the level of risks in their surrounding area. They also depend on a lateral line system that picks up vibrations in the water and helps them get around in the water.
Hence, not only are axolotl incapable of barking, they only make some low noises, and those too very rarely.
Why Do Axolotls Make Noises?
The only reason why axolotls can sometimes make hiccuping noises is when they come up for air. These salamanders can breathe in four different ways; they primarily breathe through their gulls but they can also breathe through their lungs, the buccopharyngeal membrane at the back of the throat, and their skin.
Out of these methods, when axolotls breathe through their lungs and buccopharyngeal membrane, they may make some gulping noises.
When Swallowing Air Bubbles
Axolotls have rudimentary lungs which cannot inhale a large volume of air. If the oxygen in the water in the aquarium is depleted, your axolotl may come to the surface to breathe through the lungs and the buccopharyngeal membrane.
This can send air bubbles to their lungs, resulting in a gulping or hiccuping noise.
Axolotls may also use air bubbles to float around in the aquarium and then release them with a small burping noise. Depending on the oxygen and water levels in the aquarium, your axolotl may do this out of a necessity to breathe or when it is just being playful.
Seeing an axolotl break the surface of the water and swallow the air bubbles on top of the water is not a very unusual occurrence and it can explain the sounds the animal makes. In fact, most owners only hear the burping or hiccuping sound when the axolotl swims to the surface.
However, if your pet is repeating this regularly, then it might mean there is something wrong with its water tank.
Why Do Axolotls Swallow Air Bubbles
Your axolotl may come up to the surface to swallow air bubbles when it is not getting the optimal water parameters.
If there is something wrong with the water, the animal won’t be able to easily breathe through its gills and skins and will have no choice but to come up for air.
The ideal water pH for axolotl is between 7.4 and 7.6. However, they can tolerate water with 6.5 to 8 pH. If the water is outside this range, though, it can lead to ammonia toxicity in your axolotl.
So always be certain that the water you keep your axolotl in is optimal for breathing.
When Taken Out of the Water
Some axolotl owners may hear their axolotl making a gulping or hiccuping sound when it is taken out of the tank to be moved to another location.
If you are handling your axolotl very carefully, then the noise they may be producing, again, has to do with taking in air with their lungs and buccopharyngeal membrane.
Take care not to squeeze your axolotl as that can prevent them from breathing, which can also result in gasping noises. Squeezing an axolotl is also a no-no since their body is primarily made of softer cartilage which can break easily.
Some axolotl owners have said they have heard the animal making sounds when it is having its meal. Since axolotls use their buccal pouch when they are eating as well, it can cause them to make gulping sounds.
Although most owners may never experience their axolotl making noises, there may be certain situations when stimulating the buccal pouch that may result in a squeaky sound.
Why Does My Axolotl Make Noises Frequently?
It is rare for axolotls to make noises frequently. This is because they hardly ever have cause to use their lungs and only use them as a last resort when something is tampering with their ability to breathe through their gills.
If you notice your axolotls making squeaky noises all the time, it could be an indication that there is something wrong with the water quality in the tank.
Make sure to check the water temperature is right, what is the hardness and pH levels in the water, and if there are elevated levels of nitrates and ammonia in the tank.
All of these conditions can prevent the axolotl from breathing properly, prompting it to come to the surface and swallow air bubbles frequently. However, since an axolotl’s lungs do not perform well if it keeps coming up for air repeatedly, it can be harmful to its health.
When caring for an axolotl, it is important that you treat it in a humane way and ensure all its requirements are met. There are only 700 to 1200 axolotls left in the world, which is the reason why many US states make it illegal to own these as pets.