(Ambystoma mexicanum)




Facts about this animal

The Axolotl is a large, neotenic salamander, with a indistinct dark spotting. The head-body length is about 15 cm, and the tail is about 14 cm. The profile of the head is more or less evenly rising and the body is stout; a relatively low dorsal fin-fold arises posterior to the level of the arm insertion. It has a laterally compressed tail, which is about the height of the body (including dorsal and ventral fins). It has no distinct webbing between the toes. The colour is dark brown to blackish above; the under parts and flanks are lighter and more contrasting to the indistinct dark spotting. In captive populations, albinistic and black and white forms have been bred.

Did you know?
that one derivation of the name 'axolotl' references the Aztec god Xolotl, the god of games who could turn himself into an axolotl to escape his enemies?


Name (Scientific) Ambystoma mexicanum
Name (English) Axolotl
Name (French) Axolotl
Name (German) Axolotl
Name (Spanish) Ajolote mexicano
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Stan Shebs



Range Mexico
Habitat Deep-water lakes (both natural and artificial canals) with abundant aquatic vegetation
Wild population Possibly less than 100 individuals (2006). The population trend is decreasing (Red List IUCN 2012)
Zoo population 303 reported to ISIS, but there's a large captive population outside zoos as this species is kept as an aquarium pet and is used widely in laboratory experiments.

In the Zoo



How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 45 or 51 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Przemysław Malkowski

Why do zoos keep this animal

As aquatic salamanders that spend their entire lives in the water and never grow out of their laval stage they are of considerable educational value. Also their remarkable powers of regeneration make them interesting: under 6 inches, they can grow back a whole foot in less than two months. In addition, Axolotls are said to be curious, even playful: They seem to be prone to explore new objects sniff and dig at them, as well as pushing them around. So some people give them, what they call “toys” to keep them occupied, like Caridina Multidentata shrimp, Marimo moss balls, sunken pingpong balls, shotglass, bits of bogwood and rocks to sniff and dig at and all manner of other things that are too big to be swallowed.