Axolotls are essentially Mexican salamanders that are found in natural conditions, a type of amphibian. They retain bodily functions of both aquatic larval as well as land animals. Also known as the Mexican walking fish, Axolotls make great pets if you take good care of them.
Got yourself a pet axolotl but don’t know where to get started in terms of taking care of it? Let us help you find more about the basics of taking care of your new pet.
From learning how often to feed axolotl when they are young to understanding its emotions, we are here to help.
How Often to Feed Axolotl?
You don’t need to feed your axolotl more than two or three times a week as they take a lot of time to digest their food. However, your weather conditions also will be a crucial factor as axolotls tend to digest faster in hot and humid conditions. On the contrary, digestion slows down in cold weather. If you live in an area where the temperature is less than 10°C/ 50°F you will need to feed your pet even less.
One of the best things about keeping an axolotl as a pet is that they can get accustomed to any kind of food. From worms to tadpoles, you can feed your pet just about anything. In case you want to get something that is convenient and easily available, you can feed it raw meat as long as you trim off all fat.
Liver is also great high-nutrition food. Ideally, you want to cut all of the meat into small chewable pieces so as to prevent the food from getting stuck in your pet’s throat.
There are a few pointers you need to keep in mind when feeding your axolotl. The amount of food you need to feed depends on how big it is. As a rule of thumb, bigger axolotls will need more food. That said, younger axolotls are known to have faster digestion so you need to keep an eye out to ensure it does not go hungry.
If you feel feeding by hand is getting a little messy you can use blunt forceps to get the job done. A common question asked by pet owners is, “can you overfeed an axolotl?”, and the answer is yes. You should be careful about the portions, though. Plus, you should not give it too much food at one go.
If you are wondering how many bloodworms to feed axolotl babies, do not feed them more than one. Axolotl food can be a little unsettling for most people so you may choose to get bloodworm cubes instead. Pet shops can be hard to come by in many places and finding axolotl food can prove to be difficult. The most important thing to keep in mind is how much you feed your pet as it is very easy to throw them off dietary balance.
How Much to Feed an Axolotl?
There are various approaches to feeding axolotls. A lot of pet owners choose to feed them once every two or three days while others may feed them less food but more frequently to avoid gastric problems that may arise due to the axolotl going for long periods without food; it can lead to bile formation around the stomach linings.
When it comes to young axolotls, you should try to feed them at least one bloodworm cube every single day. If they look like they are not in the mood to eat in the day, try feeding them at night. Some axolotls like to eat only at specific hours of the day which is why you should pay close attention to its food habit. Remember, it’s not always feeling full that’s keeping them from eating, it may be the case of them preferring to eat at certain times of the day.
For young axolotls, you should always defrost and remove all the fat when feeding them. If you don’t do it, the amount of time it takes for them to digest the food goes up by a big margin. And that may end up with you overfeeding them.
A lot of people recommend removing all the leftover food but the tip may or may not be applicable to your axolotl. During the first few weeks of you owning your pet, try to notice if it is just a slow eater or if it just eats less.
How Long Can Axolotl Go Without Food?
Weather conditions and their body temperature affects the appetite of axolotls. Since they take quite some time to digest their food you may see your pet be good to go for 2-3 days after eating for a day, but this is assuming you feed in moderation. After an axolotl is completely full, it can go without food for up to three weeks.
How you want to feed your axolotl is completely up to you. You can either feed it until it is full and you should be good to go for two weeks at the very least.
if you have a young axolotl you should feed it every few days, to be on the safe side. Try feeding your axolotls in small amounts every 2-3 days. There is no right or wrong way to break down the amount of food as long as it is nourished and your pet does not end up overeating or hungry.
Why is my axolotl not eating?
If you notice that your axolotl suddenly stops eating there may be a number of reasons behind it. Something might be wrong with your pet or it simply might just be the weather. There is absolutely no reason to panic, though. You should calmly try to identify what’s going on.
One of the most common reasons why axolotls start eating less is, of course, the weather. If you reach winter and the temperature goes close to freezing levels, your pet will have a harder time digesting food; excessive cold can slow down its digestive system. Your axolotls just might not be keen on eating.
The same logic applies to water as well. If there is a noticeable dip in the water temperature, your axolotl will start eating less. That said, if there are other reasons that have to do with your pet’s physiology you might want to consult a veterinarian. Most vets are not experts at dealing with exotic animals so you should find someone who is capable of handling problems with axolotls. Usually, most healthcare problems associated with axolotls is to do with constipation or other digestive issues.
It is normal for most pet owners to panic and assume the worst as we tend to do for our own children. The most telltale signs of serious underlying problems include a sense of agitation and anger in your axolotl that prevents it from being its usual calm self. Or if your pet is too active and suddenly becomes a bit too calm, it is a red flag and you should seek medical assistance immediately.
How to Avoid Overfeeding Axolotl?
There is a thin line between feeding and overfeeding axolotls. You want to ensure your pet is well fed but feeding it too much will cause it to become obese. The most obvious sign that tells you your pet has been overfed is a belly bulge. Obesity in axolotls is not a good thing as it adversely affects their lifespan. It is all about noticing bodily signs to tell yourself to stop in case you are overfeeding.
If you do not feed your axolotl there will be serious consequences as well. Not being fed enough leads to cannibalism. Either feed them in small doses every day or let them have a hearty meal once every two weeks once they grow up.
What Shouldn’t You Feed Axolotls?
There are no specific foods that you should avoid. That said, there are definitely nutrients t you cannot feed your axolotl. You want your food to be rich in protein and vitamin content and as little fat as possible. We all know that axolotls love meat and but fatty meats are to be avoided.
When preparing portions for your pet, make sure to slice off any fat else they will end up with digestive problems. You should also not feed your pet any oily foods. Water-based live foods are also to be avoided if you don’t want your axolotl to end up being sick. Stick to high-quality foods like bloodworms, daphnia and other high-protein meats with minimal fat.
In the end, it is all about getting the right mix of nutrients.
You do not want to feed too much of the same nutrient while ignoring the others. Some axolotls may also have dietary preferences like humans. They may prefer some foods over others; you should keep a keen eye on foods that your pet is hesitant to eat as well as foods that he relishes.
How to Tell if Axolotls are Overfed?
Earlier we discussed how to avoid overfeeding your axolotl, but if you want to know for sure if you are overfeeding your pet or not, the easiest sign to look out for is the size of its head and belly.
The head and belly are meant to be approximately the same size.
When you are feeding your axolotl, you should absolutely stop if you notice his belly is bigger than his head. Since they hold their food in their stomachs for extended periods of time it is very easy to notice if they are overfed compared to other pets like cats and dogs where the signs of overfeeding are not very obvious at first.
Simply learn to use the above trick and you should be fine.
Axolotl babies should be fed approximately once a day but if they don’t seem interested in eating, you should never force them. Just like humans, axolotls are unique too. Your axolotl should be fed when it is hungry and not fed when it is not. You should never force food into your axolotl’s mouth as it can lead to severe health consequences.
Other than the food, the temperature and lighting in your home also affect your axolotl’s dietary habits. If you keep your pet under bright and warm lighting, its digestive systems will likely to be more active but if you keep your pet in a cooler place, it is less likely to eat frequently. Other than the other dietary tips, you should also try to make your pet as comfortable as possible.
You want to have aquatic furniture in your pet’s living room to help it feel right at home. Sometimes being away from its natural habitat can lead to difficulties of adjusting to its new home. If it does not feel comfortable it may start eating less. And you definitely do not want that. You should also keep an eye out for temperature issues as well to keep it comfortable.
Axolotls make great pets and if you are the kind that likes exotic animals, you will definitely love having one “flying fish” around. As long as you take good care of them and help them lead healthy lives, they will be great companions as well as loyal pets.