STATUSCritically Endangered


DIETMollusks, small fish, insects, zooplankton, and algae

RANGELake Xochimilco on Lake Chalco; Southern Mexico City

HABITATHigh altitude, still freshwater lakes


Physical Description

Axolotls are neotenic salamanders (meaning they retain certain larval characteristics as adults) that remain aquatic their entire life. They average 6-18 inches in length and weigh 2-8 oz. Wild axolotls are typically dark in color and have the ability to shift their hue a few shades lighter or darker as needed for camouflage. They have feathery external gills, but they also have fully functional lungs. They also have long tails, four legs and large, flat heads.


Some predators they may encounter include predatory birds and larger fish.


They live an average of 10-15 years.


Axolotls breed between March and June. After a mating waltz, the female will lay 300-1,000 eggs and attach them to protective substrate individually. The eggs will hatch 2 weeks later and will have no parental care.

Fun Facts

  • Because of their limited distribution and their fragmented populations due to habitat destruction, axolotls are critically endangered.
  • Axolotls can regenerate their limbs, lungs, heart, jaws, spines, and even parts of their brain over the course of just a few weeks!

Conservation Messaging

In our Reptile and Amphibian (RAD) center you will find many different reptiles and amphibians including venomous and poisonous species of snakes and frogs. Many of these animals fall victim to habitat loss in the wild. Many of the species here are found in South American habitats which are subjected to deforestation, damming of rivers, water pollution, and poor agricultural and management practices.

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