Can you Purchase Axolotls or Exotic Pets at PetSmart

7 min read

So you want to buy an axolotl because they are such unique creatures. You can’t wait to get your hands on one.

You might want to do a little research before you head down to your local PetSmart to buy your new pet.

Currently, PetSmart doesn’t sell axolotls because they are exotic pets, are restricted in some states, and require the care of a specialist (not a common veterinarian) when they are ill or injured. Petsmart does sell some exotic pets through their Vet Assured program but not axolotls. Specialists would recommend that you buy an axolotl from an exotic pet dealer to ensure it is healthy.

PetSmart currently has around 1500 stores and at this time none of them have axolotls in stock.

PetAquariums Can you Purchase Axolotls or Exotic Pets at PetSmart

I wish it could be that easy to go to the local PetSmart and pick out an axolotl as they’re becoming more popular.

But never fear! We have thoroughly researched the subject so you can make the right choice of where to buy your axolotl.

There are enough places that sell axolotls, that you should be able to find somewhere close enough to drive.

If you can’t find an axolotl close enough then there are some very reputable breeders online that will safely ship one to you.

But, before we find the best place for you to buy an axolotl, let’s talk a little more about PetSmart.

Why Doesn’t PetSmart Sell Axolotls?

As stated above the main reason PetSmart doesn’t sell axolotls is because they are a very unique exotic pet. In fact, some states have legal restrictions.

PetSmart does sell some exotic pets like certain lizards that are easier to take care of through their ‘Vet Assured’ program.

The Vet Assured program requires all employees to complete training and education classes to provide the highest quality of care for the pets in the store.

Here is an excerpt from the PetSmart Vet Assured program:

Vet Assured is PetSmart’s exclusive program of health care for all of the small pets, birds, reptiles and amphibians available for sale in our stores. Developed in 1997 by our inhouse team of veterinarians and pet experts, it is a comprehensive veterinarian-supervised care program that includes setting standards for and monitoring the breeding, care and transportation practices and policies of PetSmart’s pet suppliers, conducting examinations by our trained associates of all pets before they are offered for sale, and providing expertcare to the pets while in stores.

PetSmart: How We Care For Pets Vet Assured

I don’t believe there is a large enough network of axolotl breeders in the first place for PetSmart to sell axolotls in their 1500 stores, much less in the states where axolotls are legal as pets.

Axolotls are endangered so it might be some time before the domestic population is large enough for someone like PetSmart to be able to sell them.

Contrary to some people’s beliefs, axolotls aren’t very difficult to care for.

In fact, axolotls can completely regenerate most of their body if any part of them is decapitated.

Some states like California completely prohibit axolotls from being pets because if they are released into the wild, then they could alter California’s ecosystem.

However, because of the low population of domestic axolotls and some of the legal ramifications, axolotls are too much trouble to sell as pets in PetSmart right now.

Maybe with the growing popularity of axolotls, they will become more ingrained in veterinary education and in time have a large enough network of reputable breeders in the U.S. to maintain a healthy inventory at PetSmart.

Does PetSmart Carry Axolotl Supplies?

As of this writing, if you type axolotl into the search feature on you will be taken to a stuffed axolotl dog toy! That is the only result for the term “axolotl.”

That’s okay though because there is not much of anything except for some axolotl pellets that are manufactured specifically for axolotls.

However, the good news is: there is a ton of aquarium equipment at PetSmart that you can buy for your axolotl.

You will need everything from a tank, filter, heater, and food to your choice of aquarium plants or decorations.

Where Can Axolotls Be Bought?

When buying an axolotl the first choice will always be from a specialized exotic pet breeder. Especially if you can find one that is recommended by an exotic pet veterinarian.

With their growing popularity, axolotls are also beginning to pop up for sale in pet stores.

We were just on vacation in Colorado and decided to stop by an aquarium store and they were talking about getting some axolotls in soon.


You may have heard not to buy an axolotl online, but that is not true. is an awesome place to order an axolotl online or if you’re close to zip code 80118 in Colorado, you can go pick one up. They have a guaranteed live and healthy arrival which they stand behind 100 percent so nothing to worry about.

There are other reputable places you can buy an axolotl online if you just type ‘axolotls for sale’ into Google and review the websites that sell them.

Just don’t buy one if the website doesn’t have a guarantee like

Here is a short list of other websites that offer to ship with a live arrival guarantee or local pickup: is in the greater Seattle area. has a live arrival guarantee and they are located in Dallas, TX. has a live arrival guarantee. and they are located in Madison, OH.

How Much Is An Axolotl? prices: $80.00 – $1,000 prices: $55.00 – $750.00 prices: $129.99 – $149.99 prices: $100.00 – $400.00

Okay so here is the kicker. Different people have different tastes, incomes, and accommodations.

The low-end price for buying can be as low as $20.00 if you look around on a site like Craigslist – sometimes you can find someone breeding and selling them for very cheap.

If you get one in a pet store, you will probably pay closer to $150 or more because they have to purchase them wholesale from a breeder.

I think if you choose one of the online breeders that we have listed with the ‘live arrival’ guarantee, then you will find it’s perfectly safe to ship axolotls as of this writing.

Most online breeders will not ship axolotls if the weather conditions are too hot or too cold. Most breeders have on their websites their shipping policies. Please refer to these policies prior to ordering your axolotl.

So, to summarize, if you want a basic axolotl, you can pay as low as $20 if you find a shady dealer on Craigslist. If you buy an axolotl from one of the reputable online breeders, you can get a basic axolotl for as low as $60 if you pick it up. Once you get an axolotl shipped, you’re going to pay close to $110 or more. From there the price goes up in increments depending on which type of axolotl you desire and how far you have to get it shipped.

Rare, high-end axolotls can cost upwards of $1000 or more.

Do Pet Stores Have Axolotls?

With the domestic axolotl population on the rise and the number of axolotl breeders growing, pet stores are starting to carry axolotls. Mostly because the knowledge base for axolotl care is also growing and axolotl shipping and care are becoming easier.

You will have to do a local search to see if your local pet store carries axolotls as national chains like PetSmart do not carry axolotls at the time of this writing.

Is It Legal To Have A Pet Axolotl?

It is legal to have a pet axolotl in all U.S. states except for California, New Jersey, Maine and D.C.

You can have a pet axolotl in New Mexico but it is illegal to import an axolotl to New Mexico. If you live in New Mexico, you would have to find a pet store or breeder that sells axolotls or you would have to find someone locally wanting to sell their axolotl.

As of this writing, it is now legal to have a pet axolotl in Virginia. Virginia recently passed laws to allow for pet axolotls.

Do You Need A License To Own An Axolotl?

In the United States, axolotls are illegal to own in California, Maine, New Jersey, and D.C., while a permit is required in New Mexico and Hawaii. In Canada, it is illegal to own axolotls in New Brunswick, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, while a permit is required in Nova Scotia.

You most likely wouldn’t be able to get a permit in the illegal states anyways unless you were working with axolotls for a zoo or some type of research institute where axolotls were extensively used in lab research because of their ability to regenerate almost their entire body when they are injured.


I hope you learned everything you need to know about whether PetSmart sells axolotls or not. We assumed since you were asking this question, you were trying to find somewhere to buy an axolotl, so we tried to fully explain your query.

Just remember, if you buy somewhere like Craigslist, there really is no guarantee that you will get a healthy axolotl.

A local pet store is the safest place but the online breeders we have listed are also perfectly safe to purchase from.

We recommend going through your local pet store or one of the online breeders we have mentioned.

You may have to spend $60-80 more dollars than Craigslist but it will be worth it. Once you start with the lowest cost, the amount you might spend depends on your financial situation and your preference for the color of your axolotl.

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Pet Aquariums

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