English translation by Eric Major
Curious about the Axolotl?
I´m a very curious person. So, I immediately went after information about this animal – axolotl. What a surprise! I found some very cool stuff about it. For example, I discovered that there are axolotls in the real world as well as in the virtual world. However, as we know, those two worlds are not the same.
Are you in the same boat as me? If so, this article is for you, and I invite you to get to know a little more about this peculiar pet. Happy reading!
A TYPE OF SALAMANDER
Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) are a type of salamander native to Mexico. With an elongated body, they have four very short legs and three pairs of gills to breathe underwater.
In the wild, these animals are dark. Breeders in different countries of the world make genetic crossings to obtain different colours and shades. This increases their ornamental beauty and commercial demand.
IN THE WILD, THE AXOLOTLS’ SALAMANDERS ARE THREATENED WITH EXTINCTION
Originating from the lakes in the extreme south of Mexico City, axolotls were part of the Aztecs’ diet. However, because of profound ecological changes in the environment, they are threatened with extinction in nature. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are less than 1,000 adult individuals living in the wild today.
THE WIDE SMILE STAMPED ON THE FACE CAPTIVATES THE HEARTS
The stores offer varied axolotls. We can see them with different shades of gray, brown, yellow, white, and pink. Its colour and very unusual gills catch our eye. But it is the “broad smile” stamped on his face that captivates our hearts, especially the children.
In a controlled environment, the “Mexican salamander” can live for more than 10 years. Some even cite a lifespan of 25 years!
Therefore, the decision to have an axolotl as a pet should not be taken in the heat of emotions. Much less due to the influence of characters from the digital world. Because, unlike the axolotls in games, those in real life take work, require routine care, and demand a specific budget in the family’s income. Real-world axolotls are not a “thing” that you can easily dismiss.
WHERE DID THE TREND TO HAVE AN AXOLOTL AS A PET COME FROM?
Very different and resembling a mini dinosaur from the waters, the axolotl became fashionable in Japan in the 1980s. This 100% aquatic salamander gained a presence in Japanese aquariums and moved the market there.
But the international boom really came through games and digital videos and great popularity on social networks. The friendly salamander gained virtual traction as a character in the Pokemon Go series, in “Mudkip” form.
But it was in 2021, with its addition to the list of Minecraft characters, a super popular children’s game, and its presence on Tik Tok, that the commercial explosion of axolotls in the real world took place. Many young people and children from different countries wanted an axolotl as a pet, inside aquariums, in their homes.
- After rising to stardom in the 1980s,the axolotl is still popular – The Asahi Shimbun: Latest News, News and Analysis from Japan
I LOVE MY AXOLOTL. DOES HE LOVE ME, TOO?
“Honestly, I can’t say if they create attachment or not.” These are the words of Uni, a young Brazilian Youtuber with 667K subscribers. This animal-loving teen has the dedication, space, time, and money to take care of different types of pets in her home. Among others, she has snakes, rabbits, fish, mice, parakeets, and axolotls. She is a biologist by nature! She thus has the credentials and all the necessary permits for the breeding of exotic animals.
In her videos, Uni makes clear her passion for each of the little animals, which she treats like pets. But she also reveals that, unlike cats and dogs, axolotls are not affectionate by nature.
The recommendation is that the axolotl be left alone in the aquarium. Due to their delicacy, they should not be handled, and, like fish, they are pets to be admired.
behaviour in the aquarium
Its coexistence with fish is not indicated, since the fish can pinch the gills of the axolotl. And it can hurt them. The relationship with pets should be good for both their owners and the pets themselves. So, even with the recognized capacity for self-regeneration of body parts, the owners’ obligation is to take good care of their axolotls and avoid damage.
Axolotls are carnivores. So, in addition to small fish, worms and live insects should be part of their diet. As a result, like other animals in nature, they can display cannibal behaviour when young, eating other smaller axolotls.
PET AXOLOTLS ARE ALLOWED IN BRAZIL AND CANADA, BUT THERE ARE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
You can have a pet axolotl both in Brazil and in Canada. But it is essential that you know and follow the rules of the country. Therefore, before buying an axolotl, do your research up front to stay on the right side of the law.
In Brazil, you should look for updated information from the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources (IBAMA, in Portuguese) and the National System of Wild Fauna Management.
In Canada, each province has its own rules. For example, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and British Columbia require special permission for the creation, sale, possession and transport of axolotls. Inform yourself about the organizations of the province where you live.
AFTER THE GREAT BOOM, THE ABANDONMENT OF AXOLOTLS
Tess McClure, from The Guardian of New Zealand, draws attention to the abandonment that pet axolotls have been facing. She comments that animal shelters are struggling. Many of them are being pressured to receive these pets because owners cannot (or no longer want to) take care of them. And she presents us with a very practical solution by saying:
“IF YOU LOVE ANIMALS AND DON’T HAVE THE ABILITY TO TAKE CARE OF THEM, BE RESPONSIBLE AND OFFER YOUR HEART THE WARMTH OF A STUFFED ANIMAL OR A PILLOW, AMONG SO MANY OTHER CUTE PRODUCTS THAT EXIST ON THE MARKET. IT’S COMFORTING AND DOESN’T HURT!”
- It seems like everyone wants an axolotl since the salamander was added to Minecraft
- Axolotls are being abandoned in pet shelters | boing boing
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