Axolotls are predators themselves so live by the sword die by the sword. Practically everything that moves in the wild is hunted by some type of predator.
Axolotls are cute, but they are so predatory, they even eat each other! Yikes. I guess you can call them cannibals – the weird little boogers.
Its not like the human race has any room to talk, but here is the short list of axolotl predators:
Birds: Storks and Herons
Large Fish: Asian Carp and Talapia
That’s a strange combination for a list and why in the world are humans on it? Hmmm…
The main birds that are known to hunt axolotls are storks and herons. They both have long legs and bills which they use to hunt axolotls and fish in a similar fashion…
Mainly known for the cartoon purpose of carrying new babies to their assigned parents, it might shatter the stork’s image if children found out that storks are also predators that eat axolotls for snacks.
Although axolotl spend most of their time walking along the lake or canal bottoms where they live, sometimes they do come up for air since they are technically an amphibious salamander.
When the axolotl does come up for air, even though it is rare and for a short time, the stork has an unfair advantage. They have really long legs and will stand in the shallow waters motionless, so the axolotl won’t even know they are there.
Herons are very patient hunters so they use stealth to hunt their prey.
They have huge webbed feet that help keep them from sinking into the mud in shallow water so herons can stand for hours and wait for prey to wander close enough to latch onto.
Herons also have very long legs so they can stand with their body above the surface of the water, making it harder for axolotls to detect them.
Their funny-looking S curve in their neck is actually a springboard to their long bill which acts as a spear.
The heron will either eat the axolotl whole or take it to the shore, drop it on the ground and stab with its bill to carve the axolotl into smaller pieces so it can be swallowed easier.
Asian Carp and Talapia
When axolotls were still thriving in Xochimilco Lake, Mexico City began stocking the lake with large numbers of Asian Carp and Talapia fish.
They stocked the lake with these fish to provide a cheap source of meat for the Mexican population.
These fish were easy to take care of and resilient so they would be able to survive.
They can’t eat axolotls but both of these fish are omnivores so they also eat meat.
Even though they can’t eat axolotls that are very big, they do feed on young axolotls and axolotl eggs.
This turned out to be a huge problem for the axolotl, contributing to axolotls becoming endangered.
Do Humans Eat Axolotls?
Axolotls are considered gourmet food in Japan and are also eaten in other places, mainly in Asian restaurants. Apparently, they are deep-fried and taste like white fish.
I can’t eat the weird meats, plus I know that axolotls are endangered, so I don’t think I could do it myself.
So humans are actually a predator of axolotls as well since they are fished as a food source.
Do Axolotls Eat Other Axolotls?
Axolotls may be cute, but they are natural-born predators.
Even though you can keep two axolotls together, they have to be the same size.
If one axolotl is bigger than the other, it will eat the smaller axolotl.
This can be a huge problem for people who are breeding axolotls because they have to separate them at the proper time when they are young or the axolotls that grow bigger will eat the smaller ones.
How Do Axolotls Defend Themselves From Predators?
Axolotls have no defense from predators other than to hide. They are just a soft glob with no teeth and not very fast swimmers.
The only reason they stayed alive in their natural environment, which was before humans messed it up, is because they stayed at the bottom of the lake.
The only time their natural predators (the stork and heron) could catch them is when they crawled along the bottom far enough into the shallow water where the birds were waiting.
Mexico City drained the lakes where axolotl lived for city water and introduced outside predators into the axolotl environment. If not for humans, axolotls would still be thriving today.
Is An Axolotl A Apex Predator?
Apex means the highest of something, so axolotls could be considered the top predator of their natural environment, which is the lake bottom.
Axolotls are carnivores that will try to eat anything that moves. If it isn’t meat then they will spit it out.
This includes anything along the lake bottom from worms to bugs to fish as long as the critter is smaller than the axolotl, it is considered food.
These are all predators of the axolotl in their original environment that was contaminated by the people of Mexico City.
There shouldn’t be any predators of the axolotl in your aquarium unless you put a meat-eating critter bigger than the axolotl in the aquarium. Enjoy!