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The Newfound Popularity of Axolotls by Juno S.

Have you ever seen an axolotl (pronounced ACK-suh-LAH-tuhl) in a game or real life? It has become more and more common to see these little salamanders around, on social media, in pet stores, and games. Ever since Minecraft released axolotls into the game, its popularity has skyrocketed. More and more people are stopping by a pet shop and getting an axolotl.

“Most kids ask us for the blue axolotls, which are the rarest in Minecraft. They are always disappointed that it is genetically impossible for an axolotl to be blue,” says an axolotl shop owner.

It might seem good that these amphibians have gained lots of popularity, but there is a dark side to all this.

First of all, the popularity has induced cruelty to axolotls. Scientists have been carrying out extensive research on them and have been mistreating them gravely.

Photo Credit: National Geographic

During these experiments, scientist have attempted parabiosis with axolotls, which is the conjoining of two axolotls. Also, people have posted images of dying axolotls in all sorts of colors (see image on right) on social media. This practice damages the sensitive skin of the animals, and most often, the axolotl dies within a week after being dyed.

Second, axolotls are a critically endangered species. If the popularity continues, they could become completely extinct in the wild. People all over the world have started to poach for these adorable little critters. This is why some countries have made it illegal to own a pet axolotl, for they thought that it would bring about the thought of poaching them for money.

Another reason why the growing popularity of axolotls is harmful is because not many people know how to take proper care of axolotls. If you do own an axolotl, follow these simple directions to help raise them effectively:

  1. Make sure you keep the lights on low. Axolotls don’t need much light to survive, and the heat from the light can kill them.

  2. Make sure that your tank has a regulated temperature of about 16-21 degrees Celsius (60.8-69.8 degrees Fahrenheit).

  3. Feed the axolotls with a proper diet. Make sure to feed it every other day for half an hour with worms, insects, and small fish.

  4. Replace the water in the tank regularly.

  5. Separate young and old axolotls (if you have more than one).

  6. Don’t put in other animals, and refrain from handling axolotls.

Now, with this basic care guide, you should be able to properly take care of an axolotl!

Axolotls really are an amazing species. Even though they are rising in popularity, you cannot forget that they are animals, and that you have to treat them with respect.

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