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The axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is an aquatic salamander found in the canals of Xochimilco, Mexico. Known for their remarkable ability to regenerate lost limbs, axolotls are a popular species among researchers and hobbyists alike. They exhibit neoteny, meaning they remain in a larval form their entire lives, allowing them to reach an impressive size of up to 30 cm (12 inches). Axolotls are carnivorous and feed on worms, insects, small fish, and crustaceans.
Axolotls come in several unique colors including albino (white), black, wild type (brownish-green with yellow markings), leucistic (pale pinkish-gray), melano (black with gold flecks), and golden albino. They’re also known for their striking black eyes. In the wild, axolotls live for about 10 years but can survive up to 15 years in captivity with proper care.
Because of their regenerative abilities and other interesting biological traits, axolotls have become popular research animals for scientists studying developmental biology and gene expression. While these critters make great pets for responsible owners willing to provide them with specialized care requirements such as clean water and a diet of live food items like worms or crickets, it’s important to remember that they’re still wild animals native to Mexico—captive breeding is illegal in many parts of the world due to their vulnerable status in the wild.
Axolotls are native to the Xochimilco region of Mexico, where they inhabit the canals and other bodies of water created by ancient civilizations. The axolotl’s natural habitat is a unique combination of freshwater lakes, ponds, and canals with abundant vegetation, providing plenty of hiding places for these amphibians. The shallow waters remain relatively warm throughout the year due to their location in a tropical climate. In addition to providing cover from predators, this habitat also serves as a source of food for the axolotls. Here they feed on worms, insects, small fish, and crustaceans found in the muddy bottoms of these waterways.
The wild population is facing increasing threats due to urban expansion and pollution. As a result, it’s estimated that fewer than 100 wild axolotls remain in their natural habitat today. Conservation efforts are underway to protect this species and its fragile ecosystem.
Origin of Axolotls
The origin of axolotls can be traced back to the Aztec civilization in central Mexico. The first known references to the species date back to 1519, when Spanish conquistadors recorded sightings of the amphibian in Xochimilco, an area now part of modern-day Mexico City. It is believed that axolotls were revered by ancient Aztecs and were kept as pets in royal palaces. The species was also believed to have been used as sacrifices during religious rituals, possibly due to its association with Xolotl, the Aztec god of fire and lightning.
In 1803, scientist Alexander von Humboldt became the first person to study and describe the axolotl in detail. His research focused on the species’ remarkable ability to regenerate lost limbs, a trait which has since become one of its defining characteristics. In recent decades, scientists have further studied this unique species for insights into human regeneration and even cancer treatments. Today, axolotls are widely kept as exotic pets around the world while conservation efforts are underway to protect wild populations from urban expansion and pollution.
Where do Axolotls Live?
Axolotls are native to the lakes, canals and other waterways of Mexico City. The species is most commonly found in Lake Xochimilco, a shallow lake located just south of the city. This lake has been artificially created by the draining of several small rivers, which have formed an interconnected network of canals and ponds over time. Axolotls inhabit these canals and ponds, primarily feeding on aquatic insects, crustaceans and mollusks.
The axolotl is also found in some parts of Central America, particularly in Guatemala and Honduras. However, wild populations in these areas are declining due to habitat destruction from urbanization and pollution from agricultural runoff. In recent years, conservation efforts have focused on restoring axolotl habitats to protect wild populations from further decline.
Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco
Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco are two interconnected water-bodies located just south of Mexico City. Both lakes are artificial constructions, formed from the draining of several small rivers. The lakes have become an important habitat for a number of species, most notably the Axolotl. Axolotls inhabit these canals and ponds, primarily feeding on aquatic insects, crustaceans and mollusks.
The area is also home to a variety of other species such as turtles, frogs, fish and birds. For this reason, it has become an important area for conservation efforts in recent years. In particular, there is a focus on restoring axolotl habitats to protect wild populations from further decline.
The lakes are surrounded by lush vegetation which provides food and shelter to many species. This includes a variety of native plants such as aquatic grasses and rushes as well as trees such as willows and oaks. It is also common to see birds like ducks, herons and egrets in the area.
In addition to its ecological importance, Lake Xochimilco is also home to traditional Mexican culture; including the ‘trajineras’, colorful boats traditionally used for pleasure trips around the lake’s many canals. Visitors can take part in this iconic activity while enjoying the tranquil surroundings and diverse wildlife that call this beautiful region home.
The Axolotl is a species of amphibian native to Mexico. It has an eel-like body which is typically olive, black, or brown in color with yellow stripes running along the length of its sides. Its defining feature is its external gills which are located on the sides of its neck and can be used to differentiate it from other salamanders. The axolotl has two pairs of limbs, each ending in four digits with webbed toes. On average they grow up to 30 cm long and can weigh up to 1 kg when fully grown. They have a lifespan of 10-15 years in the wild, although they can live longer when kept in captivity. Their diet includes aquatic insects, crustaceans, and mollusks as well as small fish and invertebrates. The axolotl is an excellent example of regenerative abilities; it can regenerate lost limbs within months!
Color Variation in Axolotls
The Axolotl is a species of amphibian native to Mexico and is known for its impressive regenerative abilities. It has an eel-like body with a variety of colors that can range from olive, black or brown, to yellow. Axolotls can also present different color variations, such as albino axolotls which are completely white in color and melanic axolotls which are entirely black. In addition to this, they can also have stripes or spots on their bodies. The most common type of axolotl is the Wild Type which has an olive green body with yellow stripes along the sides. This variation is the most common in the wild but other variations are becoming increasingly popular in captivity due to their unique appearance. The Axolotl is an amazing species with a wide range of colors and patterns that make them truly fascinating creatures!
Feathery Gills and External Gills
The Axolotl is a species of amphibian that has both feathery gills and external gills. Feathery gills are located on the sides of their heads just behind the eyes, while external gills are long strands that protrude from the back of their head. The feathery gills are used for respiration, allowing them to take in oxygen from the water. The external gills are primarily for communication, as they allow axolotls to detect other axolotls in their vicinity and communicate with them using vibrations.
Feathery gills have a unique design with fine filaments that look like feathers, hence the name ‘feathery’. They come in different colors depending on the variation of Axolotl, ranging from white to black, pink or even blue. They can be used to identify different types of Axolotls and also serve as camouflage when hiding in water plants or other aquatic environments.
External gills are long strands that hang down from the back of an Axolotl’s head, usually between two and four inches in length. Their function is mainly for communication but they also help with respiration by increasing surface area available for gas exchange. These thin strands can be seen clearly when an Axolotl is out of water but they shrink when it is submerged so that they don’t create drag while swimming.
Both feathery and external gills play important roles in keeping Axolotls healthy and allowing them to live underwater for extended periods of time. It’s fascinating how such small features can play such an important role in their lives!
Wider Bodies than Other Salamanders in the Salamander Family
The Axolotl is a unique species of salamander that stands out from other members in the family due to its wider body. Its body can measure up to 30cm in length and it has a fleshy tail that can grow up to twice as long as its body, giving it an unmistakable silhouette. In comparison to other salamanders, the Axolotl’s wider body allows it to move more freely in water while still maintaining agility on land. This wider body also helps them swim faster and stay submerged for longer periods of time.
The Axolotl’s wide body also provides more room for their organs, allowing them to store extra oxygen and energy reserves which comes in handy when hunting prey or escaping predators. This organ storage space also helps them survive for extended periods of time without food, which is why axolotls are known for their longevity compared to other salamanders.
The wider bodies of the axolotls are also beneficial because they provide increased protection against predators such as fish and birds. Their size makes it harder for these animals to swallow or injure them, giving them an advantage over smaller salamanders.
These larger bodies may not be what you expect when you think of a typical salamander but they are part of what makes Axolotls so special and unique among their peers!
The Axolotl is a unique species of salamander that has interesting behaviors and life cycles. From the moment they hatch, until they reach adulthood, axolotls go through several changes in their behavior and lifestyle.
Axolotls remain in their larval form for the majority of their lives, spending most of their time submerged in water. During this stage, they typically feed on small aquatic insects and worms as well as scavenging for food as it becomes available. As they grow older, axolotls may become more aggressive and take on larger prey such as fish and mollusks.
At some point in their lives, axolotls will undergo metamorphosis; during which they will transition from a larval state to an adult form with lungs instead of gills. This change allows them to move onto land where they can hunt for food and start reproducing.
Adult Axolotls are solitary creatures who live out the remainder of their lives near bodies of water, primarily preying on smaller animals such as insects or fish. As adults, Axolotls have the ability to regenerate lost limbs or organs over time which makes them even more resilient than other species in the salamander family.
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