Can I Take My Axolotl Out Of Water?

The axolotls, also called the Mexican walking fish, are actually amphibians. They are native to the lakes of Mexico, such as Lake Xochimilco, but their exotic appearance has made them favorite pets. While they are easy to care for, they require a few unique measures to keep them healthy.

Can I take my axolotl out of water? No, you shouldn’t, not even for a short period! Even a few minutes of being on dry land can adversely affect their overall health. While axolotls are amphibians with both lungs and gills, they aren’t known to survive for extended periods on dry land.

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Read on and find out about the reasons for it and how you can best take care of your axolotl.

The Unique Characteristics of Their Respiratory System

Axolotls are neotenic salamanders, which means their physical appearance and physiology will remain essentially unchanged through adulthood. Their limbs will not grow bigger or stronger, their gills will not drop off, and their skin will not become thicker and stronger. It is in contrast with other salamanders that metamorphose to survive on land and water. 

There’s also the matter of the unique characteristics of the axolotls’ gills. Their gills mainly consist of three large branches on both sides, with each gill bars having several smaller blood vessels. The gill bars also have the venous plexus, an overlying pinkish tube.

When blood is absorbed and distributed through these three large branches, it’s subsequently diffused to the other blood vessels. The oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange takes place in these fine filaments.

Unlike fish, axolotls stay still at the bottom of the lake bed or aquarium instead of swimming around to facilitate breathing. They breathe by flapping their external gills that, in turn, aids in moving the water around their fine filaments and promoting the oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange. Their gills take in oxygen from the water and excrete carbon dioxide into the water.

Be sure to check your axolotl for signs of distress through the movement of its external gills. If it looks relaxed and even in rhythm, then it’s likely in good health. If its flapping motion is made at quick intervals, it may be in distress or its gills may be infected.

The Must-do Measures To Keep Axolotl Healthy

Since your axolotl cannot survive out of the water, you should ensure that it’s always in water! It applies even when you’re changing the water in its tank.

  1. Always have another container filled with water ready before transferring your axolotl.
  2. Change the water in its tank, clean the tank of detritus, and refill it with water.
  3. Return your axolotl into its tank.

Be sure to transfer your axolotl to its temporary tank with minimum handling involved, as well as when returning it to its aquarium. Axolotls become easily stressed when handled for an extended period, so be quick about it.

If your axolotl isn’t in the water for, say, 30 minutes, it’s likely to suffer from ill health, perhaps even die a premature death. It is because its slime coat becomes dried out, and its lungs cannot breathe air like an amphibian should be able to.


Can I Take My Axolotl Out Of Water?

To summarize, before taking care of an axolotl, you should think about reading books like Cute as an Axolotl: Discovering the World’s Most Adorable Animals. Also, you should invest in the proper equipment, such as the Invert Aquatics Axolotl Starter Kit. With such an exotic and expensive pet, you have to be a responsible pet owner.

Can I Take My Axolotl Out Of Water?