Is An Axolotl A Fish? It Seems, But Not Really…

Axolotls are known as ‘The Mexican Walking Fish’, but…

Axolotls are not fish. Axolotls are part of a salamander family called, ambystoma mexicanum. Axolotls are related to the tiger salamander and are neotenic salamanders meaning they never mature out of the larval stage.

Okay, now the boring words are over let’s get to the good stuff…

What is an Axolotl?

Axolotls are actually very entertaining pets but we can talk about that later. First, an axolotl is a salamander as described above but they are very different from your normal salamander.

Since the axolotl never matures out of its larval stage as does the salamander, axolotls keep their gills. Blah blah who cares right?

An axolotl’s gills are the main physical characteristic that makes them so unique. They actually look like a flowing horse’s mane of alien tentacles haha, just see for yourself…

How can you resist owning such a cute little freaky-looking salamander? You Cant!, so stop reading and go get one now…

Axolotls are often thought to be other species such as a water dog or a tiger salamander but axolotls are actually their own species.

The axolotl is unique because it matures into an adult while in the larval(baby) stage. An axolotl never metamorphoses into an adult, whereas the salamander loses its gills and metamorphoses into an adult.

An axolotl doesn’t need to metamorphize into an adult to breed whereas a normal salamander does.

An axolotl is actually an amphibian. They live their entire lives underwater, but they are called amphibians since they can survive out of water for short periods of time.

The axolotl is named after the Mexican God Xolotl-the God of deformation and death

Are Axolotls Fish or Reptiles?

People ask this question a lot but axolotls are actually are neither. Axolotls and salamanders are actually amphibians. Amphibians can live on land and in the water.

Axolotls stay in the water their entire lives although they can survive out of the water for short periods, while salamanders spend most of their time out of water.

A reptile just lives on the land while fish are always in the water unless you catch them and take them home for dinner.

Why are Axolotls Called ‘The Mexican Walking Fish’?

Axolotls have four toes on their front feet, five toes on their back feet that they use for walking. They like to walk along the bottom of the habitat that they are in.

Since they are from Mexico, like to walk, and are always underwater like a fish, they are called the Mexican Walking Fish.


I hope I explained why axolotls aren’t fish. Now that you know more about them, maybe they are the right pet for you.

They are actually endangered so we here in the axolotl world would love to see more of them get adopted.

They are great pets for someone who doesn’t have to hold them a lot because they really shouldn’t be handled at all.

They have a wide range of personalities from being introverted and not wanting to have anything to do with you to being very outgoing and playful.

Some owners have reported their axolotls following them around the room through the glass and even tapping on the glass when they are near to get the owner’s attention.

Some owners have taught their axolotls to swim in a circle to get their food, while some owners have taught their axolotl to eat out of their hands.

Some owners lay their hand in the aquarium and their axolotl will swim over and lay in their hand, while letting the owner very gently pet them, but you should only do it for a few seconds.

Anyways they can be fun pets and they are endangered, so go get one today!

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