Axolotl Care Sheet – Habitat, Diet & Breeding

Table of Contents

LATIN NAMEAmbystoma mexicanum
NATIVE TOLake Xochimilcho and Lake Chalco in Mexico
SIZE & LIFE SPAN12in/30cm. Will live for 10-12 years
EGGS OR YOUNG?Axolotls do not go through a normal amphibian cycle. They remain in their larval stage as large tadpoles and reproduce without the need to become adult. The ability to do this is called neotony. Lays 300-600 eggs hatching after 2 weeks.
APPEARANCEColouring in the wild is black, dark sooty brown or dark grey but albino, pied variants, olive and more recently a golden form have been bred in captivity. The red markings on its gills are really blood vessels. It will regenerate lost or damaged limbs.It will only change its adult form as a Mexican Salamander if iodine levels increase in the water or the hormone thyroxine is introduced into the diet.
WHAT DOES IT EAT?Feed every other day or so. Worms, crickets, fish pellets, cubes of heart or lean meat. They cannot chew but suck in their prey so the food should be given in mouth size pieces.
EASE OF CAREBeginners upwards.
TEMPERAMENTHas a tendancy to eat other axolotl’s limbs so they are best housed separately. It does not like frequent handling
VIVARIUM SETUPAn aquarium24x15x12in/60x38x30cm will house one Axolotl.Water depth should be about 12in/30cm and should be aged tap water, ie: left standing for 48 hours. The water should be roughly neutral (pH 6.5 – 7.5) and maintained at a temperature of 50-77F/10-25C (you may need a heater to maintain this).External or internal water filter is required. Lighting is optional.
SUBSTRATEGravel, pebbles, fine sand. Provide large rocks as resting platforms.

The axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum, is the best known of the Mexican neotenic mole salamanders belonging to the Tiger Salamander complex. Larvae of this species fail to undergo metamorphosis, so the adults remain aquatic and gilled. The species originates from the lake underlying Mexico City and is also called ajolote (which is also the common name for the Mexican Mole Lizard).

Axolotls are used extensively in scientific research due to their ability to regenerate most body parts, ease of breeding, and large embryos. They are commonly kept as pets in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Japan and other countries.


The axolotl is found or habitats only in Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco in central Mexico. Axolotl is commonly referred as the “Mexican Walking fish” that are in danger of being extinct in their native habitat of Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco in central Mexico. Unfortunately for the axolotl, Lake Chalco no longer exists and Lake Xochimilco remains a diminished glimpse of existing mainly as canals. The wild population has been put under heavy pressure by the growth of Mexico City.

Axolotls are permanent aquatic, exhibits a property called neoteny, reaching sexual maturity without undergoing metamorphosis. A neotenic axolotl will live an average of 10–15 years. However, a terrestrial population of Mexican Tiger Salamanders occupies and breeds in the axolotl’s habitat.


Axolotl eats dead or live foods like worms, food pellets, or tiny insects as they are carnivores.


Reproduction in Axolotl is very unusual that occurs during the larval stage of development. This happens because the Axolotl does not metamorphose out of the larval form into adulthood. Due to the increase of water temperature and lengthening of days, the breeding season is in the spring.

The male Axolotls expels between 6 and 30 of these spermatophores, the fertilization occurs within a few hours to a couple days. Hatching takes place after two to three weeks when the female Axolotl releases the eggs onto plants. The egg of an Axolotl has visible feathery gills and a dorsal tail. Sexual maturity in the Axolotls usually takes place between 6 months to a year.

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