Should Axolotls Be Kept As Pets?

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should axolotls be kept as pets

Axolotls have been growing in popularity over the past years. If you google them, you’ll be hard-pressed not to smile when you look at their images. 

With their feathery external gills and a face that looks like it’s got a permanent smile, these adorable and unique-looking creatures are sure to catch your attention. 

You’ve fallen in love with the axolotls, but what do you really know about them? Should axolotls be kept as pets or are they best left in the wild? 

To be a responsible pet owner, it’s a good question to ask. Not all creatures are meant to be our household companions. 

We’re going to discover just what’s best for these adorable aquatic amphibians. 

What are axolotls?

Axolotls are salamanders. However, they don’t look like your average salamander, and they possess quite a few unique traits. 

Axolotls don’t go through metamorphosis like other salamanders. This is why they keep their “cute” appearance throughout their entire lives. In other words, they stay babies forever. 

Who doesn’t want a pet like that? It’s no wonder they’ve become so mainstream as of late.

Axolotls are completely aquatic amphibians. While they can breathe on land, they live underwater, where their furry gills allow them to stay. 

So, they’re adorable lifelong babies who live underwater and have a permanent smile on their faces. Does it get any better? 

Well, actually, not only are these amphibians cute, but they’re also pretty cool. Axolotls can regrow their limbs, spinal cord, and parts of their brain. These make axolotls a favorite for not only potential pet owners but scientists as well. Studying these guys is always interesting. 

Where do axolotls originate?

Axolotls come from Mexico. These impressive aquatic salamanders are quite endangered. They’re listed as a “critically endangered” species. 

Currently, axolotls can only be found in the wild in Mexico City. Sounds strange, right? That these creatures are living in such a huge metropolitan area. 

Axolotl hiding between seaweeds.

While you may have thought these creatures were native to the jungles, they aren’t. They live in the narrow canals surrounding the city. These chinampas (floating gardens) were built to water the crops of the nearby farms. 

The popular Xochimilco district in Mexico City is not only home to colorfully painted gondola-esque boats that attract tourists year-round, but also to the axolotl. 

Why are axolotls so popular?

How did these aquatic salamanders become so popular? Well, they exploded on the internet, of course, with their memes and everything. 

Let’s call the axolotl a pet “influencer.” If you’re on the internet, you’ve probably seen images of these guys. They became Instagram and TikTok famous and have gained many fans. These creatures are being bought and sold all over the internet. 

Their images have gained fame across the internet and social media platforms, and there is now a large interest in people wanting them as pets in their homes. 

Why is the axolotl an attractive pet? 

We already know they’re super cute and that they can regenerate various parts of their bodies. They’re also friendly creatures who are pretty entertaining to watch, hence their rise to internet fame. 

Should axolotls be kept as pets?

From tigers to monkeys, humans tend to keep animals as pets that are better off left in the wild. Is an axolotl one of these creatures that would be better off left in their natural habitat?

three axolotls inside an aquarium
Three roaming albino axolotls inside an aquarium.

Axolotls are quite hard to find in nature. They only reside in the surrounding waters of Mexico City, and researchers often have a hard time finding and studying them in the wild. Their population is decreasing, and they are currently listed as “critically endangered.”

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have these fun aquatic creatures as pets, though. As long as you can properly care for your axolotl, then it is perfectly acceptable to have them as pets in your home. 

Maintaining axolotls as pets is fairly straightforward. However, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper set up so they can thrive. Basically, before buying an axolotl, make sure you can properly care for it. 

Is An Axolotl The Right Pet For You?

You’ve fallen in love with these fun, adorable amphibians, and now you have to have one in your home. You’ve already planned the Instagram you’re going to start specifically for your new pet. After all, everyone loves watching these guys on the internet. 

While having a pet is a fun and exciting venture, it’s also quite an undertaking. Caring for another living creature is a lot of responsibility. Make sure that you want to take it on before you purchase your pet. 

An Axolotl can be a lot of fun as a pet.

The good news is that after initially setting up their aquatic home in your house, axolotls are pretty low-maintenance pets who, when cared for properly, can live for 10-15 years.  

Knowing how to properly maintain an axolotl is vital before deciding to take one on as a pet. So, what kind of care does an axolotl require?

How to care for an axolotl

The first step in caring for your axolotl is making sure that it has a proper home. You’ll need to set up its aquarium so that your pet can thrive in its new environment. 

You’ll want to get a 20-gallon long tank for one adult axolotl. If you plan on having more than one, you need an additional 10 gallons per adult. You’ll need a low-flow filter to assist in keeping it clean, as these cute amphibians do produce a lot of waste.  

Fingers holding bloodworm to be fed to an axolotl.

And you’ll also want a way to keep the temperature of the water down, whether it be a chiller or a cold room. The natural habitat of an axolotl rarely goes above 68 degrees Fahrenheit, so keeping the water temperature below that is needed. 

Axolotls aren’t fans of light, so you’ll also want to use dim light when viewing and keep them in a darker area of your home. 

Now that you’ve got the aquarium ready, what exactly will your axolotl eat? Axolotls need protein. These carnivores eat bloodworms (live or frozen) and live earthworms. They can also be fed specially made axolotl pellets. 

Enjoy your new pet

While becoming a pet owner is a big responsibility, it is also full of joy. 

Make sure you have the proper setup for your axolotl to thrive, then enjoy watching this entertaining creature play in its new home. 

And sure, take those cute videos and photos to continue the fame of this truly fascinating creature. 

Photo of author


Sarah is a writer at Since she was a little girl, you could always find her toting around stuffed animals or begging her mom for a new pet. She loves writing on responsible pet ownership and how to best care for our furry friends. When not writing, you can find her on an outdoor adventure with her favorite sidekick: her dog.