Are Axolotls Dangerous?

6 min read

Axolotls are calm and tranquil aquatic creatures that lead a solitary existence and prefer to be left alone. They inhabit the dark and cool environment of two fresh water Mexican lakes. Axolotls occupy their time with hunting food, walking along the water bottom and resting.


This uncommon salamander is a rare sight both in nature and at people’s homes. There are more axolotls living in laboratories nowadays than in their natural environment and in aquariums. Still, some people choose to have one as a pet. Many questions appear regarding taking care of an axolotl and one of them is, if axolotls are dangerous? No, they are not.

A healthy axolotl is not dangerous at all. An axolotl can turn dangerous if it carries diseases that can pose a threat to humans such as salmonella poisoning since axolotls are eaten as a gourmet food in certain places. Axolotls can also transfer salmonella if you don’t wash your hands before and after touching them or their water.

In this article, we are going to see why and how axolotls are not dangerous and what could possibly make them risky to take care of.

Why Axolotls Aren’t Dangerous

A healthy and happy axolotl is not dangerous to humans at all. The Mexican salamander is a solitary creature that mostly keeps to itself and minds its own business.

Axolotls are considered a gourmet food in Mexico City and its surroundings and are offered in restaurants as actual meals. They may turn into a threat to humans if they carry salmonella. However, they do not carry natural poison in their bodies. Also, salmonella is only dangerous to children and people with a weakened immune system.

Axolotls can be dangerous to other species such as fish or other axolotls. In nature, they hunt for prey, which is usually other smaller fish. If you pair an axolotl with fish in the same tank, the Mexican walking fish may try to eat that fish. If you place two axolotls in the same aquarium, they may try to attack and eat each other since axolotls are known for showing cannibalistic behavior.

Do Axolotls Carry Salmonella?

Reptiles and amphibians (axolotls are also classified as amphibians) can have salmonella gems in their bodies and this is not unusual, even when they appear healthy and clean. The disease can spread to humans, if they become in contact with an infected reptile or amphibian.

Axolotls can also carry salmonella in their bodies. The bad news is that once there, it is impossible to get rid of it. The same applies to reptiles. They carry salmonella traces in their digestive system and it stays there throughout their whole life.

However, the risk of contracting salmonella when caring for your axolotl can be avoided with simple measures.” All people have to do is wash their hands before and after being in contact with their pet.

In general, salmonella does not pose a threat to adults with a healthy immune system. Babies and young children are more vulnerable, however, and extra caution is necessary. If there are children around you, it is better to keep them away from the aquarium and if there is any contact, they have to wash their hands immediately.

And to clarify briefly what salmonella is: it is a type of bacteria mostly transmitted to humans by food. It is impossible to see it, smell or taste it. Very often eggs that have expired (but not enough to realize it) can carry salmonella. It is not dangerous but it causes disruption of the stomach and leads to:

  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • pain
  • cramping in the belly.

Are Axolotls Poisonous?

No, axolotls are not poisonous. They do not carry any poison in their system. They are safe to eat and there are no side effects from that.

Is It Safe To Touch An Axolotl?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to touch an axolotl. In fact, it could be more dangerous for them to be touched than the other way around.

Axolotls have a very fragile cartilaginous bone structure due to the fact they never really grow up but remain in their larval state for the rest of their lives. Thus, their skeletal structure is very sensitive and if not handled properly a touch by a human can easily damage them.

If you have to touch, hold or transfer your axolotl for any reason make sure you do it in one of the following ways:

  • use special tweezers to lift it and replace it in an already prepared container
  • gently place your palm underneath the body of the axolotl and with the help of your thumb and middle finger provide support. Axolotls get scared very easily and can start tossing and turning once you move them out of the water.
  • Axolotls are slippery so make sure you do not accidentally drop your pet. This can be fatal for it.
  • Have another tank or a container to place your pet back in water immediately. Axolotls naturally survive in water and keeping it out of it will dehydrate it, which can be lethal.
  • Always wash your hands before (and after) touching your axolotl. As mentioned, they are very fragile creatures and you may easily transfer bacteria to your pet with dirty hands. This salamander is very susceptible to infections.

Is A Bite By An Axolotl Dangerous?

No, a bite by an axolotl is not dangerous at all.In fact, axolotls barely have any teeth and a bite is barely noticeable. The most that happens is having your skin a bit red.

They bite everything that gets near so they will mistake your hand for food or a predator, when you clean the tank. They also bite fellow axolotls and fish. If your pet bites you, make sure you:

  • clean the wound properly
  • apply a substance to disinfect it
  • give it some time to heal
  • avoid more biting until the wound is fully healed.

If your axolotl bites you, do not pull your hand immediately and avoid any abrupt movements. You will mostly likely damage your axolotl’s teeth and cause troubles and pain for it. Just wait for it to let go. It will happen soon enough, since your salamander will realize your hand is not food.

Are Axolotls Dangerous For Other Pets?

No, axolotls are not dangerous for other pets in the house unless they are fish kept in the same tank or two axolotls cohabiting together.It is safe to have a tank with an axolotl and a cat or a dog in the house. Just make sure the cat or the dog (or both) does not start messing around with the aquarium!


To sum up, axolotls are not dangerous at all! The only danger that they may pose is carrying salmonella gems in their digestive system. In that case, they may infect you with the disease but it is not dangerous at all. All you need to do is to make sure that you wash your hands immediately after touching your pet.

Axolotls can be dangerous to other species such as fish or fellow axolotls as they are known for showing cannibalistic behavior.

Axolotls are not poisonous and it is safe to touch them or eat them. In Mexico they are served as gourmet food! Would you try one?!

It is perfectly safe to touch them and a bite by an axolotl is not dangerous. They are very fragile, so make sure you do not accidentally hurt your pet instead in both cases. If there is a bite, clean the place let it heal and avoid further biting for a while.

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Pet Aquariums

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