What Are Axolotls Related To?… Salamanders?…

3 min read

Axolotls are becoming very popular these days. They aren’t fish but they live in an aquarium. If they aren’t fish then what are they? They are rather unique creatures that can regenerate most of their body. The best way to explain what axolotls are is to answer another question, what are axolotls related to?


Axolotls are a neotenic salamander closely related to the tiger salamander. So, axolotls are related to salamanders. Even though axolotls are related to salamanders, axolotls are different because they live entirely under water, while salamanders live on land.

There’s a lot more to it than this so let’s explore the question in greater detail. To completely explain what axolotls are related to we must explain:

What Is an Axolotl?

How Are Axolotls Related to Salamanders?

What Is the Difference Between an Axolotl and A Salamander?

Let’s Dive In!

What Is an Axolotl?


An axolotl technically can be considered a form of a salamander although they really aren’t because as described above, an axolotl lives solely in the water like a fish.

Because the live solely in the water and they like to walk along the lakebed or aquarium bottom, axolotls are also known as the Mexican walking fish because they are native to Michocacan, Mexico.

As stated above the axolotl is actually known as a neotenic salamander. This means it stays in a juvenile type of body or larvae stage for its entire life. Its body doesn’t develop as much as a salamander does. This might be why axolotls are able to regenerate so much of their body.

Axolotls are actually their own species even though they are often mistaken for a salamander or a water dog. Axolotls are completely unique and they are actually endangered now because of their popularity.

They are becoming popular because of their unique appearance and also because of their personality.

Axolotls actually come to recognize their owners over time if you feed them by hand or just spend some time with them after dumping their food in the tank. Yes! You heard me right, you can actually feed your axolotl by hand!

It is actually recommended that you feed them by hand so they come to recognize you more and you can get a better look at them to make sure they are healthy when they come close to take the food from your fingers.

Owners have even stated that their axolotl will sit on its hind legs like a cat and watch them as they move around outside the tank. Axolotls will swim back and forth following your movements when you are close to their tank.

This all depends on the personality of the axolotl because they are all different, regardless how much time you spend with them. Some axolotls will naturally stay secluded and not be interested in you.

The name Axolotl comes from an Aztec language known as Nahuatl. Scholars have linked axolotl to a mythical Mexican God known as Xolotl – the God of deformation and death. This is an interesting story since the axolotl is known for regenerating its body parts.

How Are Axolotls Related to Salamanders?

Axolotls are actually a form of a salamander. You can say they are like a salamander that never developed into an adult. They look somewhat like a salamander and are often mistaken for a tiger salamander.

What Is the Difference Between an Axolotl and A Salamander?

The main recognizable difference is that axolotls keep their gills their entire lives. They like long thick whiskers or tubes behind their heads and this appearance sets them apart from other salamanders that can also live on land.

This is because Axolotls are neotenic as described above, meaning that they keep there juvenile traits through adult hood. While salamanders lose their gills and live on land, axolotls keep their gills and spend their lives under water.


Now that you completely know what an axolotl is, go get yourself one and enjoy it as an aquarium pet. They are medium difficulty to take care of but that is only because you have to work harder to keep their aquarium water clean since they are bigger than a fish.

They produce more waste than a fish but once you get used to weekly water changes they are a breeze and fun to watch. Don’t hesitate to get yourself an axolotl. Just use our website for everything you need to know.

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Pet Aquariums

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