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All Creatures,

Episode 76: It Regenerates, It’s the Axolotl

February 26, 2019

One of nature’s most amazing creatures, the Axolotl, has the ability to regenerate lost limbs and other body tissues. Sadly, these amphibians are almost extinct in the wild, and scientists are racing to discover its secrets, secrets that could benefit humans and other species.

Axolotl Description

Axolotls are native to Lakes Xochomilco and Chalco near Mexico City, Mexico. Its close relative is the Tiger Salamander, but is very unique since Axolotls are considered immature adults. This is called neoteny, in that adults very rarely fully mature. Thus, Axolotls remain in this “juvenile” state and stay within an aquatic environment for all of its life.

Axolotls were very important symbols to the Aztecs. Additionally, they were an important food source. As the Aztecs developed the lands around present day Mexico City, Axolotls population exploded. It was not until major development and the draining of the lakes in the mid-20th Century did Axolotls begin to sharply decline in population.

Axolotl Facts

These amphibians can live 10 to 15 years in the wild. Under human care they can live up to 25 years. These animals are carnivorous and will eat crustaceans, fish, insects and worms. Typically, these animals live in isolation.

The most amazing facts about Axolotls are their ability to regenerate their limbs and tissues. A good article discussing this can be found HERE.

Axolotl Conservation

Axolotls are considered critically endangered. However, a large population is kept as pets or in labs throughout the world.

Conservation Tips

Ways to help reduce water consumption and improve your own local habitat is to water your lawns during the cooler times of day, or when it is less windy. Plant native shrubs and use mulch to protect the moisture content in flower beds. Let your lawn grown higher in the hotter months of the year.

Organizations to Support

Videos

Axolotl Mating Dance to Music

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