Axolotls are unique and cute creatures which, despite them being exotic, you can own as pets! But if you are interested in owning an axolotl of your own, you might be wondering where you should be looking.

Where should you go to buy an axolotl? Try to purchase an axolotl from a breeder or an exotic pet dealer. Buying axolotls from the internet is never advisable. Speak with a veterinarian who specializes in exotic pets to find reputable stores or breeders.

Just like any pet, there is a lot to take care of when you get an axolotl. From the home that you keep it in to the food that you feed it, the axolotl is a complicated creature that requires some strange specifications in their care. I’ll cover these necessities and more throughout the rest of the post.

Where to Get the Best Housing Conditions for Axolotls

Axolotls are amphibious creatures so they can breathe both through gills and lungs; however, axolotls cannot survive on land they need to be underwater. This is due to their malleable bodies which are made up mainly of cartilage.

Axolotls are amphibious creatures so they can breathe both through gills and lungs; however, axolotls cannot survive on land they need to be underwater. This is due to their malleable bodies which are made up mainly of cartilage.

This leaves them vulnerable, especially at a young age, to things that will cause abrasions on the skin like crawling across the ground.

Axolotls have a coating of slime that covers their entire bodies allowing for some durability between the axolotl and the outside world. Being out of water makes this slime coat dry up and will leave the axolotl’s sensitive skin open to the dangers of the world around it.

Additionally, an axolotl’s skin is sensitive to light and water helps to disperse the light that would usually hit the axolotl. Overall, the natural environment of the axolotl in the wild is in the water so don’t take them out of their environment.

This additionally means that you can’t touch your axolotl it will do more harm than good. So treat them like a fish. You don’t get to pet it, just look at it. They are really cool to look at, so make sure they continue to look cool.

You don’t get to pet it, just look at it.

As for providing for the habitat of the axolotl, you’ll want to pay special attention to the size of the tank you get, the gravel you place in the tank, the filter you get for a tank, and extra shelter you’ll need to provide it in the tank.

Each of these tank details can be found either online through Amazon or other online pet stores or a likely to be found in a pet store that sells amphibians and aquatic animals.

Tank Size

Axolotls can reach just over a foot in length which is quite long for a salamander. To prepare for this you should get a tank that is between 15 and 20 gallons. You won’t need the tank completely filled with water but there should be enough water to cover the axolotl length vertically.

Unlike reptiles you do not want to keep your axolotl in the sun, this is actually detrimental to them. So put away your heat lamps and focus on keeping the water at a cool 57 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit (14 to 20 degrees Celsius).

This cool temperature is most similar to its natural living environment in the wild so try to keep it within this range as much as you can.

Gravel

One of the biggest mistakes that an axolotl owner can make is getting the wrong size of gravel.

You want to put gravel at the bottom of your tank to give the axolotl the strength to grab onto the floor as it crawls forward. The cause for concern here is that axolotls aren’t always the smartest creatures, as a result, they may eat the gravel if it is small enough.

Axolotl’s eating gravel is one of the leading causes to them dying as the rocks they eat will clog their digestive tract and may eventually kill them.

Get gravel that is large so that the axolotl can still have the rough rocky terrain to crawl over but you won’t have to worry about it eating the rocks you put in its tank.

One of the biggest mistakes that an axolotl owner can make is getting the wrong size of gravel.

If you can’t get large gravel it is suggested that you leave the bottom of the tank bare as that is safer than using small gravel for the axolotl.

The concern of using no gravel is that the bottom of the tank is slick and can cause stress on the movement of the axolotl due to the limited amount of grip they will have on the glass bottom of the tank.

However, it is better for the axolotl to struggle than for them to ruin their digestive tract through eating something they weren’t supposed to.

Tank Filter

You’ll want a filter to keep your water clean. If you don’t have a filter then you’ll need to manually change out the water and you’ll have to do it frequently as well. This is so frustrating, trust me and just get a tank filter.

When buying a filter there are two things you need to look out for. One, since the axolotl has a load of extremities you don’t want the filter somewhere that it will get caught and lose part of its body.

Similarly, you’ll want to try to keep the strength of the filter low as that will prevent the axolotl from accidentally getting caught in the stream of water being sucked into the filter.

Shelter

Finally, there is some extra protective gear that you will want to have for your axolotl’s tank. The first is a necessity but still falls into the category of shelter, and that is a tank cover.

Axolotls have the natural instinct to shoot up and dart away when it is startled. As such you’ll hear stories of axolotls that have jumped out of their tanks and were left out for hours before their owners noticed. Don’t risk this. Keep your pet safe and by a tank cover.

And second, you will want to have a little hideout for the axolotl to escape the sun. Since axolotls don’t have eyelids the sun can hurt their eye so give them a chance to hide from that sun.

Where to Find Food for Axolotls

Luckily axolotls aren’t crazy picky eaters they are able to eat several types of meat from strips of beef to earthworms. As such, the axolotl has an extensive list of what it could be fed. Which allows for many place to grab food for your axolotl.

  • Snails
  • Worms
  • Crustaceans
  • Small fish
  • Small amphibians
  • Brine shrimp
  • Small strips of beef or liver,
  • Earthworms (wild caught worms may carry parasites)
  • Bloodworms
  • Tubifex worms
  • Salmon fish pellets

Generally, axolotls are easy going. So, feed them enough food and they should be raring to go for you to so off on display. Just be careful about any dangerous parasites in wild caught prey to the axolotl.

This means all food should come from a pet store when available. Especially when we are talking about fish, amphibians, and worms. It is not a good idea to feed your pet axolotl things which you have caught yourself. avoid that as much as possible.

When buying food for an axolotl you don’t need to get food specified for an axolotl. Since they have such a large range of food which they can eat you can feed them anything on this list above. So most local pet stores will have aquatic food options that will work to serve up a quick meal to your axolotl.

For some specific axolotl food options try these salmon pellets found at Amazon, or you can look at the selection found on buy-axolotls.com.

Cost of Buying an Axolotl

The cost of an axolotl can vary greatly depending on the color and type of axolotl that you wish to buy. Simple Lucy axolotls, the white and pink colored ones, bought at a juvenile age cost about $20. Rarer colors and older axolotls will cost more leaning into to prices near $200.

The cost of the pet itself is not all, after getting a suitable tank and material expect to spend at least another $70 getting the correct equipment to deck out your little guy’s place. However, this can greatly increase in price especially if a quality filter is going to be bought. As some high-quality filters can cost about $165.

So look into what you can afford as you can get and take care of an axolotl for under $100 for a fair amount of time, but if you wanted a cooler, older axolotl you may end up spending above $500 dollars to fully accommodate your amphibious friend.

Other Tank Guests

Contrary to popular belief axolotls don’t benefit from socializing. As such they live perfectly well ins solitude. In fact, due to strong cannibalistic tendencies of the youth axolotls should be kept separate until they are at least 5 inches long.

At 5 inches, the axolotls are generally mature enough to get over their cannibalistic ways. If you see any signs of one axolotl hurting another one in the cage then remove them immediately into separate cages, that way you won’t have to worry about once axolotl hurting the other.

Since axolotls have a very high regeneration ability separating them before any serious damage has been done will likely allow both axolotls to heal up and likely survive through the experience.

The benefit to having two axolotls together is that you can breed them so long as they are of opposite genders.

In regard to keeping other waterborne creatures in the tank with the axolotl… don’t. Because of the sensitive skin of the axolotl, any creature that will move into the tank and nibble away at the axolotl can cause some serious damage.

To avoid this just leave the axolotl alone. Or if need be you can drop his food into the tank when he is hungry, but generally, you’ll want to leave them to themselves.

Average Lifespan

Axolotls can live over 20 years but that is incredibly rare. Generally, you’ll find axolotls live up to ten years long. Living longer is a rarity though hit 20 is possible for an axolotl.

The life span of axolotls will decrease depending on certain factors. One factor is if it eats anything it is not supposed to as this can majorly inhibit its life span. Another factor is whether or not the axolotl goes through a metamorphosis to gain a terrestrial form.

This process is similar to puberty in humans but the process is not necessary for the axolotl and it can put an undue amount of stress onto the axolotl causing it to have a shorter life span.

Health Problems

The biggest problems that axolotls will face are either digestive problems caused by them eating something they weren’t supposed to or problems caused by an undue amount of stress.

The leading causes of stress for an axolotl are moving in the tank, if there isn’t gravel that may be the problem, or going through their metamorphosis. This change of the axolotl’s body is a heavily stressful event.

The other concerns you need to worry about for the axolotl are the temperature of the water, whether they are getting to much sun or not, and if they are eating what you are giving them.

Breeding

Axolotls will reach their sexual maturity after about 12 months of age. This allows for a fast reproductive cycle so long as you have two axolotls of differing genders.

Axolotls will lay 200 to 600 eggs on the leaves of a plant. At this point, you will want to remove the parent axolotls from the tank as they will eat their young. After about two weeks these eggs will hatch into tadpole looking creatures.

Despite hatching, the babies will stay attached to the leaves they were born on for another two weeks.

At these two weeks of age, they will start to search for food. It’s important that there is plenty around at the young and juvenile axolotls will eat each other. Because of this as well as a variety of other factors axolotls have a high mortality rate with about 97% fatalities.

Behavior and Temperament

Axolotls are incredibly friendly creatures. While you aren’t able to hold them due to their sensitive skins they are easy to maintain and keep in captivity. In fact, they are so well behaved generally that they are known to be the creature that we have the oldest records of being kept in captivity.

Axolotls are often used for experiments since they have such an incredibly regeneration ability, as such there is a multitude of axolotls that are kept in labs for testing.

They are well-behaved creatures and as long as they are feed and separated from anything they might harm or that might harm it they’ll be fine.

Why Choose an Axolotl?

If your considering a pet than an axolotl is a unique and easy to care for choice. Since axolotls live for a long time and are confined to a tank, you will have a consistent companion that you will always know where to find.

Further than that the axolotl has one of the strongest regenerative abilities in the world. They can regrow their limbs back as many times as they want. This means that should your axolotl run into injury somehow it should be able to heal itself.

Finally and most importantly they are adorable. They are low-maintenance pets that you can grow close to while still allowing them to sit on your shelf and look amazing. Maybe I didn’t convince you. Oh well, better play my trump card.

Related Questions:

Can I pet an axolotl? You cannot and should not ever pet an axolotl. Axolotls are too sensitive to be pet without getting hurt. So if at all possible avoid petting them as you will likely hurt them. Additionally, the bodies are covered in slime to protect their body so they won’t be pleasurable to pet anyways.

Do axolotls make noise? Axolotls will squeak though it is not always easy to hear since they are underwater. The also will yawn and breath out a sharp puff of air which can also make bubbling and rippling sounds within your water tank. Generally, these creatures are quiet and won’t disturb you if you keep them nearby.

Are axolotls harmful? Axolotls secrete toxins from the skin as a defense mechanism. However, this toxin is weak so it will only do you harm if you intake a lot of it. Additionally, when agitated it may try to bite you (although it is not strong enough to have much effect on you). Plus this generally only happens if you are handling the axolotl, which you shouldn’t be doing.