The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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Axolotls are not very common pets, but they’re incredibly desirable because of their exotic looks. They’re also relatively easy to take care of and can be hardy compared to other pets.
But if you’re planning to keep an axolotl as a pet, you might ask yourself a few questions.
So, do axolotls bite? Are they considered dangerous?
Keep on reading to learn more about these entertaining aquatic pets.
Do Axolotls Bite?
Yes, they do, but their bite doesn’t hurt at all. As a matter of fact, if you extend your hand as you’re trying to feed your pet axolotl, it will probably bite your finger out of curiosity.
But you can easily avoid being bitten by an axolotl.
This animal is a type of salamander, but it doesn’t go through metamorphosis like other salamanders. Instead, it uses gills to breathe and spends all its life as an aquatic animal.
This means that you don’t necessarily have to feed your pet axolotl as it feeds underwater.
Are Axolotls Aggressive?
The axolotl is pretty timid and can handle the changes in its environment. However, it doesn’t feel intimidated by humans and might come to the side of the tank if you approach it.
You need to be extra careful while handling this exotic and endangered animal because it has a delicate body.
Most of the axolotl’s body is made of cartilage instead of bones, making its body more prone to injury that can easily kill the animal. This is why you don’t have to move this pet from its tank unless it’s essential.
If you have to move the axolotl, use a fine mesh net and move it slowly so the small animal doesn’t get entangled.
But this animal doesn’t act that peacefully with other aquatic animals.
Axolotls are likely to attack pet fish in the tank, and the fish usually bites the tails of this little animal.
Even juvenile axolotls can be aggressive towards one another, and they usually practice cannibalism if they’re kept in the same tank. This is why you should be extra careful if you decide to keep more than one in the same tank.
In this case, keep an eye on any aggressive behavior or cannibalistic tendency. If this happens, you should act quickly and keep every axolotl in a different tank.
Why Do Axolotls Bite?
Axolotls aren’t aggressive animals, but they will bite your finger whenever you extend your hand. These small pets believe that everything that moves is potential food.
They also attack objects that don’t seem threatening, and in this case, they won’t be afraid of your finger.
In their natural habitat, axolotls are one of the top predators, feeding on the microorganisms, insects, small fish, and invertebrates found in the water.
Moreover, they’re not subject to the danger of bigger predators, so they’re likely to eat whatever comes their way.
To better avoid a bite, don’t handle the axolotl unless it’s necessary. You shouldn’t touch its head and gills as they can harm the pet because they’re extremely sensitive to touch.
Does the Axolotl’s Bite Hurt?
The axolotl has tiny teeth that don’t even pierce the skin when it accidentally bites your finger. As a result, you’re unlikely to bleed or feel any pain because this bite doesn’t hurt at all.
Although you should be prepared to get bitten by your axolotl every time you put your hand in the axolotl’s tank, you won’t probably feel any pain.
Still, you need to clean the bite by washing it with antibacterial soap and using rubbing alcohol to prevent the risk of infection. You should also put on an antibacterial band-aid.
It’s also crucial to check the axolotl after the bite because this tiny pet can get hurt when it bites you. This tiny pet is able to regenerate broken tissues, but this process takes a lot of time.
Although it might be able to regenerate its body if it gets hurt, it’s important to check the axolotl if it bites you aggressively.
How to Set Up the Right Home for Your Pet Axolotl
A tank that measures between 15 and 20 gallons will be comfortable enough for a single axolotl. This aquatic pet doesn’t need a large land area because it swims all its life.
A deeper tank will be better because it improves the quality of the water and provides this pet with more room where it can freely swim.
You should keep a lid on top of the tank because this pet might attempt to jump out of its enclosure.
Where Should You Keep The Axolotl?
After picking the right tank for your pet axolotl, you need to keep it in a cool room, away from the bright sunlight that can harm this delicate pet.
The perfect temperature should range between 57 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit and never exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit, as the high temperature might kill this exotic pet.
Axolotls prefer darkness over light, unlike other pets. This means that you don’t need to install special lighting in the tank.
As a matter of fact, the perfect tank will have a hiding place like a cave or a flower pot that is placed on its side to give this pet room to hide when it needs to.
You can either leave the tank’s bottom bare or cover it with gravel. If you’re choosing gravel, pick coarse large-sized gravel that typically measures larger than the axolotl’s head so it doesn’t accidentally ingest it.
What Type of Water Should You Use for Your Axolotl?
Axolotls absorb water and oxygen through skin and gills. This is why you need to be extremely careful about the type of water used in the tank, as it can significantly impact the pet’s health.
Healthy water should contain some of the essential nutrients that are essential to keep the axolotl healthy as it needs these nutrients for survival. But, at the same time, some chemicals like chlorine and fluoride can harm this pet.
The water should also be neutral to slightly alkaline, typically with a pH level between 7.4 and 7.6. If the water is too acidic or alkaline, it might harm this pet and even kill it.
You should also consider buying a filtration system for your pet’s tank and set it to slow. Frequent yet slow filtration is needed to keep the water clean, so it won’t need regular changes.
Strong filtration should be avoided because the strong currents can stress and even harm the axolotl. You should consider a 20% water change because changing all the water can cause drastic changes in the water’s chemistry.
Here are some options to consider if you’re looking for the right water for your axolotl.
Bottled water is perfectly safe for axolotls and other reptiles because it contains the necessary minerals and salts.
This water is typically spring water that has been processed and treated by adding several natural minerals like potassium chloride, sodium chloride, and other essential minerals.
You need to read the label on the bottled water to make sure that it’s treated and filtered. Reverse osmosis and other filtration methods are safe enough to remove the harmful chemicals from the water, so it’s perfectly safe for your pet.
The safety of tap water depends on where you are, as the contents of tap water differ greatly from one country to another. They also differ from one state and city to another.
If you choose to use tap water for your axolotl, you need to let it sit for 24 hours to let the chlorine evaporate. You can also use dechlorination drops to remove the excess chlorine.
Tap water is safe to use if you have a practical filtration system that removes all the impurities. You can also boil it and let it cool before using it in the tank.
If tap water contains chloramines, which are harder to remove and more dangerous to your pet. In this case, you should consider using another type of water.
In most cases, well water isn’t the safest to use with your axolotl. This is because well water usually contains a lot of minerals that might be dangerous for axolotls and other reptiles and amphibians, and the pH level is usually inappropriate for your pet.
You can improve the levels of oxygen and iron in well water using an aerator. However, this water won’t be appropriate for your pet in most cases.
Distilled water is treated to get rid of all the minerals and salts, which makes it inappropriate for axolotls. An axolotl needs a healthy dose of these nutrients to stay healthy, and distilled water lacks these minerals.
This water also contains more hydrogen than other types of water and is usually more acidic. This is why you should avoid using this water in your axolotl’s tank.
Axolotls are tiny exotic pets and will try to bite you every time you attempt to put your finger in its tank. However, the bite is harmless and painless because this animal has tiny teeth.
As a matter of fact, if your pet axolotl bites you, you should examine it because this animal might be hurt.