Axolotls are one of the most curious animals in the animal kingdom. They are capable of regenerating some parts of their body and retain their youth over time, in addition, these animals have such surprising characteristics as cannibalism.
In this AnimalWised article we will talk about the feeding of axolotls, amphibians with a nice and funny aspect.. ¿What do you think they can feed on? If you want to find out, keep reading this article to know what do axolotls eat.You may also be interested in: What do chickens eat? - All about feeding chickens Index
- Axolotl characteristics
- Axolotl feeding
- 10 Curiosities of the axolotl
Although it may look like a huge tadpole or larva, the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is a curious species of caudate amphibian, endemic to the Valley of Mexico basin. Although since 2006 it has been in critical danger of extinction, it is still possible to find some specimens in the wild in Lake Xochimilco.
Mainly aquatic in nature, this amphibian occasionally goes outside for air, but lives mainly in deep water, where there is abundant vegetation.
It is easily differentiated by its peculiar physical characteristics:
- Elongated body that can reach up to 30 centimeters in length.
- A total of six external gills behind its head, with which it absorbs oxygen and expels carbon dioxide.
- Little black eyes.
- Smooth, soft and elastic skin.
- Fine, long and pointed fingers.
- Retractable tongue.
- Tiny teeth arranged in rows.
- Large mouth capacity.
- Flat tail that serves as a swimming fin.
- Visible blood vessels.
In the wild, the colors of the axolotl can vary between brown or brown, green, gray, and they may even have specks of darker colors. In captivity there have been clear and albino variations, such as the axolotl pink or gold.
Finally, regarding the reproduction of this animal, the axolotl, despite retaining its youthful features until old age, between 12 and 18 months of age acquires the ability to mature sexually to reproduce. Once a year, they put between 100 and 300 eggs attached to rocks or aquatic vegetation. The young are born 10 to 14 days later and face life without the help of their parents.
The axolotl is an amphibian that carries out a carnivorous diet. His teeth allow him to grab his food, but not to tear or chew it, so swallows his food whole. When observing its target, the axolotl opens its large mouth and sucks water along with the food.
Their food can be differentiated between live food and dry food:
- Live food: small crustaceans, worms, earthworms, slugs, snails, crickets, mosquito larvae, frog tadpoles, occasionally fish and other small organisms from the depths of Lake Xochimilco.
- Dry food: in captivity, it is usual to offer the axolotl dried shrimp or floating food, like the one given to water turtles or fish. It is important to dispense with flakes or fish food that do not float, because when falling to the bottom of the aquarium or fish tank, the animal tries to ingest the food and ends up also sucking stones or pebbles that are at the bottom and that can cause serious health problems and including death.
By way of complementary, the axolotl can feed on small chunks of meat chicken, chicken or turkey liver and beef heart. Although these amphibians can withstand a fast of several weeks, in captivity it is recommended to provide food between one or two times a week.
As an anecdotal note, the axolotl has been described as a cannibal animal, Therefore, it is advisable to separate the larvae at birth to prevent them from becoming food for their parents. In turn, these small hatchlings basically feed on zooplankton until their bodies allow them to switch to the adult diet..
10 Curiosities of the axolotl
As we already anticipated and you may have discovered, the axolotl is a very curious and particular animal. Next, we expose other curiosities of this species in case you have not been surprised enough yet:
- It has the appearance of a giant tadpole with legs.
- He is able to regenerate some parts of your body when they are mutilated, such as their limbs, tail and even heart cells or brain neurons.
- It is a kind neoteny, or what is the same, it has the ability to retain its larval characteristics even when it reaches sexual maturity.
- Unlike most amphibians, axolotls come of age adult without metamorphosis.
- Possess so much lungs simple like gills, and they can also breathe through the skin.
- Has eyes lacking eyelids and his fingers they do not have nails.
- Has a Life expectancy that can reach up to 20 years in captivity, although only 6 years, at most, in the wild.
- The species has been exploited for medicinal studies, food and even ritual ceremonies.
- These animals were considered as the reincarnation of the god Axolotl during the time of the Aztec Empire.
- Its natural predators are the mojarra tilapia and white heron, although his greatest enemy is the human.
¿Have you been wanting more? Then you cannot miss our article on the curiosities of the axolotl, where we will explain many other details about this unique species.