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Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House

Did You Know?

  • Axolotls are one of the most-studied salamanders in the world because they can regenerate their lungs, heart, limbs, jaws, spine, and even parts of their brain.
  • Axolotls are neotenic, meaning they keep their juvenile characteristics—like webbed feet, feathery gills, a body fin, and a tail—as adults.
  • Wild axolotls are usually black or mottled brown.

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Scientific Name: Ambystoma mexicanum

Class: Amphibians

Diet: Worms, mullusks, crustaceans, insect larvae, and small fish

Range: Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco near Mexico City

Endangered Status: Critically Endangered

More Information

Axolotls are a type of salamander that can get to 18 inches long and weigh between 2–8 ounces. They are descended from tiger salamanders and are considered a “young” species (from the last 10,000 years) with deep cultural significance. They are a lentic species, meaning that they live in still water lakes—just two, in fact, making them critically endangered. Axolotls hunt by inhaling their prey using suction and are more active at night.

These animals mate in the wild between March and June, starting the process with a waltz-like display. Once females have collected the males’ genetic material, they will lay between 500–1,000 eggs laid individually on plants or rocks. Axolotls are independent from birth and reach maturity at the age of six months.

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