Do Axolotls Sleep? Its Hard To Tell…

Some creatures in nature are more active during the day, while others are more active at night. Others are never active by nature and spend their entire time half-asleep or very slow and mundane, without too many physical activities.

Although more unusual, axolotls are animals like any other and their habits also vary during the day and during the night. The Mexican walking fish does not enjoy too much bright sunlight and they prefer dark, cool and shady waters. Their body temperature is not too high either. Their physical activity is expressed mainly through walking along the water bottom and eating. They do not swim or float.

In that case, how do axolotls rest and do they sleep? Axolotls sleep, but their sleeping behavior is not exactly what we, as humans, imagine of sleeping. Also, they do not possess eyelids and it is difficult to determine whether your axolotl is resting or not. In that case you will have to observe other signs in your pet’s behavior to find out when it is resting or not.

Do Axolotls Sleep? “

Yes, axolotls do sleep. However, their sleeping behavior is different compared to what humans know and usually imagine when they speak of sleeping. Their sleeping habit is more like resting and not moving around as much. In nature, what can be considered a sleeping axolotl is that is stays still, does not hunt, tends to hide more, and does not walk up and down too often.

If you look closely, you will observe that your axolotl does not have eyelids. This makes it difficult to tell if your pet is sleeping or not.

Another factor is that this unique salamander is actually more active in the night than during the day. As already mentioned axolotls, do not enjoy sunlight and tend to be more inactive during the day and hide in caves and plants.

Of course, an axolotl’s activity varies when it is in the wild and when captive. It is normal for them to be less active in an artificial tank. First of all, there is not that much space for it to move. Second, it does not have to hunt since the food is provided and third your axolotl does not exhaust any energy on looking out for enemies or guarding its territory. All of this makes the axolotl less tired.

In nature axolotls hunt for prey usually at night and are more still during the day. Do not get alarmed, if you notice that your axolotl appears mundane during the day or somewhat not in shape. Observe it at night or at least when it gets dark. You will notice that it activates itself gradually once the sunlight starts to go down.

How Do You Know Your Axolotl Is Sleeping?

For sure, you are sometimes curious to know if your axolotl is sleeping or just sitting at one place! Here are some signs by which you can guess if your beloved pet is enjoying a nap!

  • Retreats in its hiding place and remains still for a while.
  • Observe the gill. When resting, there will be a little movement of the gill.
  • You axolotl becomes paler.
  • Your pet stays at one place and does not walk around the tank.

Axolotls love to hide and to have shelter above their heads. They partly do this to escape from daylight and tend to hide more during the day. If you notice your pet spending more time in its retreating places during the day, then it is most likely enjoying a quick nap!

When resting, axolotls move their gills a tiny bit. This can be another sign that your pet is sleeping. Also, it may turn a little paler during resting times due to the lack of physical activity.

Even if not in its hiding place, if you notice your axolotl remaining still at one place for a while, then it is most probably having a break.

How Do You Know Your Axolotl Is Sleeping and Is Not Sick?

If you notice any unusual signs of behavior in your pet, be careful and watch out for a probable sickness. You know your axolotl and its habits and you should be able to tell if something is wrong. For example:

  • It floats in the tank unwillingly.
  • It does not move from the bottom of the tank at all.
  • Swims frantically.
  • Refuses to eat.
  • Shows signs of infection such as fungus.

If it floats in the tank unwilling, this may be a sign of bubbles in the gut. Axolotls are almost never active by floating, regardless of whether it is day or night.” If you observe such behavior, go to the vet immediately.

If your axolotl is too still all the time and does not move from the bottom at all, this may another sign of a digestive problem. Refusal to eat, signs of infections or swimming frantically are all other signs of untypical behavior other than sleeping.

How Long Does Your Axolotl Sleep?

This is really difficult to answer even by researchers. Since there are no obvious signs of sleeping, it is challenging to tell.

Deriving from research and observations of other aquatic creatures it is presumed that axolotls as well need at least a couple of hours of rest to be able to restore their energy.

Are Axolotls More Active at Night Instead of Sleeping?

Yes, they are more active at night. Axolotls are classified as nocturnal creatures and hunt for food at night. During the day, they retreat into hiding places such as caves or between stones and plants. Axolotls have to make sure they are defended during the day as most potential enemies are more active during the day.

Do Axolotls Need Light During the Night Since They Sleep During the Day?

Axolotls prefer dim to no light, so you do not have to provide any artificial light during the night. They do not enjoy too much light because their eyes do not have eyelids and are sensitive to bright light. Normal indoor lighting without any additional aquarium lights is perfectly sufficient. You can also achieve more darkness by installing floating plants to prevent sun beams from entering during the day.

How Do You Provide Proper Sleeping Time for Your Axolotl?

Axolotls are very tender and sensitive creatures and can get stressed easily. Like any other living creatures they need their peace and quiet and proper time to relax. Here is what you can do to ensure your axolotl thrives in a tranquil environment and get itself good quality snoozing time!

  • Place the aquarium in a shady corner away from sunlight.
  • Decorate the tank with enough plants and hiding spaces.
  • Provide cool water and, if possible, cool room temperature.
  • Ensure a healthy diet.
  • Don’t pair your axolotl with another axolotl or with other fish.

If you want your axolotl to enjoy proper sleeping times, make sure you place the tank away from direct sunlight. Bright light can seriously stress your axolotl and disturb its healthy habits of sleeping once developed.

In order to keep sunlight from entering the tank, decorate with enough plants and provide enough hiding places to add darkness.

Axolotls thrive and shine in cool waters. Make sure you provide proper water temperature and, if possible, place the aquarium in a room with a lower temperature. Avoid central eating or an air conditioner blowing straight at the tank.

Axolotls are lonesome creatures. To avoid stress and ensure proper sleeping times, do not pair your pet with another axolotl or fish. This will only bring it stress.


To sum it up, axolotls do sleep. However, their sleeping behavior differs from what humans understand as sleeping. Axolotls’ eyes do not have eyelids and it is basically impossible to tell when they are sleeping. Some signs may include retreating into a hiding place for longer periods of time; staying in one place for longer and not walking around; turning paler than usual and a small movement of the gill.

Observe you axolotl for potential sickness or infections every now and then and make sure you provide a healthy, cool and peaceful living environment.

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