Axolotls are intriguing aquatic creatures that have become increasingly popular as pets in recent years. They are amphibians. Thus, they have a special adaptation for living in the water. However, many pet owners ask if removing their axolotls from the water is safe, either for cleaning or handling. Can Axolotls Be Out Of Water? The welfare of these one-of-a-kind creatures requires an understanding of the hazards and constraints inherent in this possibility.
What Habitat Do Axolotls Call Home?
Axolotls don’t dwell in saltwater, so that you won’t find them in the ocean; instead, you’ll find them in freshwater lakes, rivers, and canals. Axolotls thrive in these waters because of the abundance of food and hiding places provided by the lush flora and muddy bottoms.
Because axolotl larvae need a liquid medium to develop, the conditions in these environments are also crucial to the reproductive cycle of the axolotl. Axolotls can live in aquatic environments or adapt to terrestrial ones, returning to the water to reproduce.
Axolotls are endemic to the Valley of Mexico in central Mexico, specifically the former locations of Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco. The axolotl population has crashed due to human development and the introduction of alien species, and the amphibian is now critically endangered.
Because of their popularity as pets and research subjects, axolotls are common both in the wild and in human care.
Inhaling Air: Can Axolotls Do It?
Some species of the genus Ambystoma of axolotls are neotenic, meaning they retain larval-like features even after adulthood, unlike any other group of amphibians. These features include a long, curved dorsal fin and three sets of gills that fan out behind the head like feathers. Some axolotls never leave the water and look like they’re in the larval stage, whereas others transform into adults with lungs and spend their entire lives on land. Since the larvae need a liquid habitat for growth, many species may even be able to live on land permanently, venturing into the water solely to lay eggs.
Contrary to popular belief, axolotls can breathe air since they have lungs. However, their gills are the primary means of respiration, as they draw oxygen from the water. Although axolotls do periodically emerge to the surface to take deep breaths of air, this is not their primary source of oxygen.
The gills of an axolotl are only partially effective while it is out of the water, but they still function. If axolotls remain out of water for too long, they may inflate their gills as a sign of distress, as they cannot take oxygen from the air through their gills.
In addition to their gills, axolotls employ different breathing modes when out of the water. They get some of the oxygen they need by breathing through their skin and only a small amount through their lungs. The ability to live through the cheeks is also present in axolotls. Axolotls can only survive for short periods using these oxygen-obtaining strategies when not in the water.
Can Axolotls Live On Land?
Axolotls are related to salamanders and are part of the Ambystoma family. They are related to salamanders but have key biological adaptations that make them strictly aquatic rather than terrestrial. Without water, Axolotls can survive for brief periods, but they are not suited to live on land.
Axolotls have gills for breathing. Hence, they need to be near water to get oxygen. In addition, they are not very handy on land and may need help locating sufficient food to survive. In contrast, salamanders are better suited to land since some species have lungs. While some salamanders may adapt to life on land, axolotls need to be better done for any significant time.
What Sort Of Conditions Do Axolotls Call Home?
Pet axolotls’ health and happiness depend on their environment’s quality. Important considerations to think about while designing a home for a domesticated axolotl include:
Hydrologic status: Axolotls can’t survive without access to pure water. Their ammonia-free water should be between 6.5 and 7.5, and their pH should be between 7.5 and 7.5.
Aquatic Environment: Temperatures ranging from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius (60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit) are ideal for axolotls.
Tank Capacity: Because of their size, axolotls need a tank holding at least 20 liters of water. The axolotl will be happier in a tank that allows it to swim and explore more freely.
Substrate: Substrates for axolotls must be gentle to not irritate their delicate skin. Sand, fine gravel, or a tank with no substrate are all viable choices.
Filtration: Waste is a major problem for axolotls. As a result, a reliable filtering system is needed to maintain safe and wholesome water conditions.
Places to Conceal: Axolotls are nocturnal animals that feel most secure when they have somewhere to hide. You might give them PVC pipes, rocks, or other decorative items as hiding places.
Lighting: Axolotls do not require UVB lighting but a light source simulating the natural day/night cycle to manage their behavior and biological rhythms.
Whether or not axolotls can survive out of water is an issue with multiple facets. The axolotl’s healing skills and unusual appearance have made it a celebrity among amphibians. While they both fall under the amphibian category, transitioning to a marine lifestyle significantly sets them apart from their terrestrial ancestors. Axolotls prefer and do best in the water, and their biology is strongly tied to this adaptation. Their gills are the major organs responsible for breathing; they absorb oxygen from the water. Axolotls are unique among amphibians in that they exhibit traits associated with their larval stage well into adulthood.
However, Axolotls may briefly live outside of water, but with several restrictions. They have rudimentary lungs and can suck air at the surface when necessary, allowing them to tolerate brief durations out of water. This skill has contributed to the false belief that axolotls can be kept as terrestrial pets. However, this should be done with extreme caution.
Before removing an axolotl from its water environment, several important things must be considered. To begin with, their delicate skin is prone to drying out and injury, which can increase their risk of developing infections and other health problems. Ectothermic creatures like these are extremely sensitive to temperature changes, which might have a harmful effect when they are taken out of their natural watery environment.