Can You Touch Axolotls? It Depends…

5 min read

Axolotls are a pet mainly to watch rather than to snuggle with. You can say that axolotls are more like a fish and should be a pet for viewing. If this doesn’t sound like fun to you then you shouldn’t own an axolotl because you might neglect it.


Surprisingly, axolotls can be quite interactive and one of the most frequently asked questions is, can you touch axolotls?

You can touch axolotls sometimes but not very often. If you touch them too much, you can damage the slime they are coated in that protects their sensitive skin. When you do touch your axolotl, always wash your hand in water, not with soap, so you don’t contaminate the tank. Offer your hand and let your axolotl touch it first or even lay in your palm.

You really shouldn’t touch your axolotl at all if you can help it, but we know it can be hard not to when you have a pet so just be careful.

Axolotls are very sensitive creatures because their body is designed to be suspended in the water. Even when your axolotl is walking along the bottom of its tank, its full body weight is not supported by its tiny spindly legs. Some of its body weight is floating.

Can You Hold Your Pet Axolotl?

Axolotls do not have a protective layer of skin like fish do so you should only hold them when absolutely necessary. If you really want to hold your axolotl, you should let it sit in the palm of your hand underwater and let it approach and lay in your hand.

If your axolotl is skirmish and continually doesn’t want to then forget about it. When you hold your hand in the tank and let the axolotl sit in your palm, it is not the same as actually physically holding your axolotl, which leads us to another question…

Can You Hold an Axolotl Out of Water?

You can hold your axolotl out of the water but not for your own personal enjoyment. You should only hold them out of the water when you have to get them ready to transport or move them to another tank.

Also, some people picture an axolotl as a salamander that can live out of water so they may keep their axolotl out of the water for too long. Axolotls are more like a fish and have gills, so they need to be underwater at all times.

Axolotls also have their slime coating that helps keep them moist. If they stay out of water for too long, their slime coating can begin to dry up.

How to Hold an Axolotl


First, make sure you have the right mindset before you even try to hold your axolotl. It may freak out when your try to hold it, so make sure you are ready so you can relax when this happens. It’s not good if you both are freaking out at the same time because you may grip your axolotl too hard.

The best way to hold your axolotl is too cup both your hands around it, kind of like a cage. You want your hands to relax but you don’t want the axolotl to squirt out from between your hands or fingers. Maybe if you can picture holding a small bird, this will help.

The main thing to remember is, even if they freak out, to quickly get them where they are going without them getting out from between your two hands.

More specifically, you should put your fingers in between your axolotl’s legs. Just picture them sitting flat on your hand with your thumb and pointer finger in between their legs and your other hand over the top to keep them from moving forwards, backwards, up, or down.

Remember! Always wash your hands before putting them in the tank or touching your axolotl. Use straight water to wash and no soap.

If something does happen, like you both freak out and your axolotl ends up on the floor, just pick it up quickly and get it to where it was going in the first place. I know you will feel bad, but axolotls are known for their regenerative powers so even if you see some skin peeling off or even if you break one of its legs don’t completely panic.

Just get it to where it’s going an closely monitor it to make sure it’s not sick and regrows the injured part of its body.

Can I Pet My Axolotl?

Generally, the answer to this question is going to be no but it really depends on the personality of your axolotl. Some axolotls will always hide a lot and not interact with you while some will be more curious and interact with you more and more over time.

If your axolotl likes to lay in the palm of your hand, underwater of course, then you can try to gently stroke its head or belly. You can only do this very gently and not for very long. You can easily damage their skin.

If your axolotl wants no part of it then just don’t pet it. It will stress your axolotl out to much if it doesn’t want to be petted and you keep trying so don’t.

If you do pet your axolotl don’t do it for more than a few strokes extremely gentle and never touch its gills.

How to Touch an Axolotl

The best way to touch your axolotl is to keep putting your hand in the tank as long as they don’t get too stressed out. Remember, axolotls have different personalities, so some axolotls will refused to be touched regardless of how patient you are or how hard you try.

Just keep trying to let them touch you first and over time try to barely touch the less sensitive parts like their belly or tail. Some axolotls will quickly learn to recognize you as their food source and interact with you more and more.

Never make quick movements so that your axolotl doesn’t get stressed out.

Do Axolotls Like to Be Touched?

It always depends on the axolotl’s personality. Some axolotls will never let you touch them at all while some axolotls will readily lay in the palm of your hand and let you stroke their belly.

Just remember to always try to let them approach you first and don’t stress them out too much in your eagerness to touch them.


I know it can be hard to be patient with your axolotl but its personality and the way it interacts with you depends on how patient you are, especially when you first put it in the tank. The quickest way to interact with your axolotl is to feed it by hand.

Just be patient and you could be rewarded greatly over time. Some axolotls have silly, crazy personalities to the point that they will bang on the tank glass when you enter the room. Some will follow you back and forth when you are in the room, sit on their hind legs and watch you, and can even be taught tricks so be patient and enjoy!

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Pet Aquariums

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