Do Axolotls Like to Play? In Their Own Unique Way.

6 min read

Axolotls are quiet and harmless pets. Most of the time they hide in their secret places, eat, or rest. In their natural environments, the Mexican walking fish is a creature that prefers solitude and minds its own business. During the day it prefers to rest and snooze and at night axolotls are more active, hunt for food and roam along the lakes’ bottom.

PetAquariums Do Axolotls Like to Play? In Their Own Unique Way.

Like any other living being every now and then axolotls also enjoy the presence of other companions. They may prefer solitude in their own territory and do not mingle too much with other axolotls or fish but still, they are part of an ecosystem and enjoy at least knowing that there are other water inhabitants around.

Some people do have axolotls as pets. The more time they spend with their aquatic friend, the more amazed they become with the features and behavior of this extraordinary creature.

The axolotl also realizes that there is a presence around it and if you stand close to the aquarium, your pet will sense you and come closer thus encouraging you to keep observing.

So, what else do they like to do?

Do they like to play?

Yes, axolotls do like to play although your idea and theirs for playing may slightly differ! It’s rare but every now and then Axolotls play either in the water with floating and swimming or see your hand as an opportunity to play during feeding times. Axolotl pet owners report that their pets might come near their hand, explore it, and swim all around it. The axolotls might even let you touch their skin and pet them.

It is interesting that axolotls appear quite sociable around human beings but do not particularly enjoy the presence of fellow axolotls or fish. In fact, two adult axolotls may try to fight and even eat each other and one might try to eat the fish around it.

Do Axolotls Like to Play?

Yes, axolotls do like to play. They also enjoy the presence of human beings and their attention. However, their idea of play is more different than what people understand by playing and your axolotl’s playing behavior may seem rather boring to you.

Axolotls like to entertain themselves in several ways:

  • Float around or swim.
  • Walk up and down the water bottom.
  • Come look at you when you stare at them through the aquarium glass.
  • Follow your fingers if you pass them along the glass.
  • Investigate your hand during feeding times.
  • Swim around your hand if you sink it into the water.
  • Swim in and out of their hiding places.

Axolotls are not exactly the most active aquatic creatures out there and their activities revolve mainly around hunting for food, walking slowly, or moving in and out of their hiding places.

Very rarely they like to float or swim as a form of doing something different. Only make sure that the floating is not due to some health issues such as bubbles in the gut as that is a common indicator of problems with the digestive system

Their main activity is expressed in walking along the water bottom. That is why this salamander is called a Mexican walking fish – it has four limbs and its actual method for moving around is by walking not swimming, unlike most underwater creatures.

Even though axolotls appear quiet and solitary, they do enjoy attention. If you come close to the aquarium and start staring at your pet, it will immediately sense your presence, come closer to you and encourage you to keep looking! This is a form of playful entertainment for your axolotl and a chance for it to be sociable.

The same thing will happen if you pass by the aquarium glass and slide your fingers on the outside. Your axolotl will come closer and follow the movement of your fingers! Try it and you will see that it works!

Axolotls become more active during feeding times. If you dive your hand in the water when feeding (or not) your pet will instantly approach you and begin investigating it. It will go around your palm and then swim around all sides of your hand until it is fully examined. You may try to slightly touch and pet your axolotl. Be very gentle, though, as they have very tender skin and you may accidentally take off a layer. A damaged upper layer may lead to sickness and infections later on.

Finally, another activity that axolotls enjoy is moving in and out of their hiding places. It may not sound too entertaining to you but for an axolotl this is a lot of effort!

Do Axolotls Get Bored?


No, not really. An axolotl’s main activities are the ones listed above and this is all they do. Also, these funny creatures do not possess that much intellectual capacity to distinguish between having fun and being bored.

Officially, playful behavior has not been documented scientifically yet in any amphibian species.

Some other activities that may keep them occupied are eating, hunting, mating, and biting each other. They also like to climb up plants and sit near the filter bubbles in their aquariums.

What do Axolotls Like to Play With?

Axolotls like to play with plants, your own hand, ping pong balls, moss balls, and ghost shrimps.

Ghost shrimps, also called glass shrimps, are freshwater crustaceans and are very popular amongst fish keepers. They usually have two roles – one as food to larger fish and another as tank cleaners. Their life span is about one year. Their name comes from their see-through, transparent appearance. Axolotls are not able to catch them but they provide good entertainment for your salamander as they try to chase it around the tank.

Classic ping pong balls are also a good option for entertainment. Completely harmless for both the axolotl and its environment, your pet may spend some time trying to chase and catch the ball.

Moss balls or scientifically called Marimo moss balls are large balls built by algae with a velvety appearance. They are also a very suitable option for entertainment and will look aesthetic in the aquarium.

Axolotls like climbing up plants and hiding between them. Provide enough plants in the aquarium so your salamander can move around them.

The bubbles coming out from the tank filter are also impressive to an axolotl. If you observe carefully, you may find your axolotl regularly lurking around the filter to enjoy the bubbles and the stream. Make sure the filter does not create a current that is too strong. Axolotls are very sensitive and can get stressed out as a result.

How Can You Keep Your Axolotl Entertained?

Axolotls do not require any special attention or entertainment. They are pretty good at occupying themselves with activities, especially if you provide them with items such as a moss ball, ping pong ball, or a variety of plants. Do not worry too much about entertainment. A healthy environment, good food, and clean waters are much more important for your aquatic companion!


Axolotls are lovely creatures, aren’t they?! Even though, there has not been any official scientific recording of amphibians being playful they do like to entertain themselves in their own unique ways.

Axolotls feel like they are playing when they:

  • Hunt
  • Eat
  • Chase around with other axolotls
  • Hide
  • Move in and out of caves and plant formations
  • Investigate your hand during feeding times
  • Walk up and down the water bottom

To provide some all-time entertainment, supply your pet with any of the following:

Do not worry too much about entertaining your axolotl. They are very tranquil creatures and can take care of themselves!

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Pet Aquariums

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