Can Axolotls Go On Land? | Find out why and why not


Taking a closer look and study at axolotls, you’d notice that these amphibians have both the aquatic gills and terrestrial lungs, which may make you presume that they can survive on land and in water. Like you, we have pondered on it for a while, and maybe most owners at different points; but can axolotls go on land?

We did get our answer which we will share with you, so you would know what to do. In as much as you wonder, you should prepare for the consequences. Could it be good or bad? Well, it could be either.

Many things come into play when you take your axolotls out of the water, and you are about to find out whether it is safe for you to take them out from the water.

Read on!

Can Axolotls Live On Land?

While axolotls are amphibians and naturally should survive on land, unfortunately, they cannot live nor last in the wild. They are from salamander species, which you can hardly see on land due to some reasons.


Let’s see of the following reasons why axolotls cannot live on land:

1.   Survival factors

As you know, axolotls live most of their life in the water, and their survival somewhat depends on temperature, water flow, pH water level, and minimal exposure to sunlight. By nature, they should be in the water, so they may not survive the uncontrolled atmosphere or temperature outside your tank.

Of course, they have terrestrial lungs with which they can breathe if you take them out of the water, but it is not enough to make them survive. Moreover, performing basic survival skills like walking may be difficult even though they have four legs like other amphibians.

2.   They’re strictly aquatic animals

Axolotls are strictly aquatic animals, which is how they are a bit different from other amphibians. Other amphibians can go on land and survive.

You can let their body remain out of water for a long time due to prolonged exposure to harsh conditions. And this can have adverse effects on them, which we will get into later.

If you are keeping axolotls as pets for the first time, we advise that you keep them in water at all times, except for a few instances. The only time you should probably take them out is when changing their tank water or cleaning the aquarium.

You would need to transfer them into a container with the same water condition as the tank. This helps them stay healthy and live longer.

3.   Fragile limbs

Axolotls have fragile limbs which can’t help them survive on land. In addition, they can’t move fast on land with their limbs, making them use more energy than normal.

4.   Their slime coat

Another thing that makes survival on land difficult for your axolotls is their slime coat. When you hold your pet axolotl, you’ll notice a mucus-like thing on their skin that makes them slippery.

This helps to keep your axolotls moist and sustain their living. Also, taking them out of the water and leaving them on land can make the slime coat dry.

How Long Can Axolotls Go On Land?


Initially, we said that axolotls could not live on land. However, that is already a fact you would need to accept if you want to keep your axolotl for a long period.

Can axolotls stay hours, days, or months on land without dying? Overall, you can keep axolotls out of water for about an hour, and on land, they can stay for a few minutes.

Nevertheless, axolotls’ resilience on land tends to differ. Some can stay shorter periods, while others longer.

If you’re so curious to know about the resilience of your axolotl, you can start by testing it with shorter minutes before extending to see. However, we advise against you testing your axolotl capabilities for too long and weakening them.

But, undoubtedly, this will help you know how well to care for your axolotls, especially when they jump out of the water during tank cleaning. But, of course, this is risky, depending on their impact on the ground

However, certain conditions tend to regulate how long axolotls can stay on land. Let’s see these conditions:

●     Humidity

Axolotls could also survive longer than the one hour barrier as long as they remain moist and their skin doesn’t dry out. That means you cannot expose them to harsh conditions that can make them dry.

Humidity or the dampness of the air around the amphibian controls how long they can stay on land, outside of water. Moreover, as earlier, if you want to be sure how long your pet axolotl can stay on land, you can test it for a short time and see.

●     Temperature

Like most amphibians, they tend to be cold-blooded, and rely on the atmospheric temperature. So, you shouldn’t keep your axolotls on land for so long, especially when you consider the temperature condition.

Therefore, we advise that you get an additional tank or container you can transfer your pet to when doing water changes. This will stress your axolotl less, especially if your tank lacks a filter and you need to change the water often.

Also, you would need to be quick and gentle when transferring your pet so you don’t work them up too much. The longer they stay on land, their slime coat, which protects them from diseases, can dry up and make them vulnerable or die.

Can You Hold Axolotls In Your Hand?


We understand that axolotls are pretty, no doubt, and sometimes, you may feel like holding them outside the water. But, should you really?

Your kids could even feel like holding those fascinating creatures in their hands. But, we advise that you shouldn’t keep your axolotls’ tank within children’s reach.

However, you can hold your pet axolotl in your hands, out of the water, since they can survive for a little bit outside the tank. Nevertheless, remember that axolotls are fragile, so you need to be careful when holding them.

So, how do you hold them in your hands?

You shouldn’t hold them too tightly so you don’t suffocate them, nor can you hold them too loosely so they don’t slip and smack the floor. If you decide to hold your axolotl, you should lift them gently from beneath.

Don’t grab their head, hand, feet, or tail, or they may snap. Moreover, just like on land, you shouldn’t hold them out of the water for too long.

Otherwise, you could tamper with the slime coat and expose them to diseases or water chemicals that can quickly cause harm. You can hold them for a couple of minutes; then, you need to transfer them back into the tank.

You should also know that axolotls don’t enjoy people holding them, so you want to refrain from doing that too often unless you need to move them.

What are the consequences of frequently trying to hold your axolotls?

●     Stresses the fish

As earlier stated, axolotls are fragile and may become afraid when you hold them out in your hands for too long. Worse case scenario, the freight may even lead to biting your fingers!

More so, they can freak out and may try to escape, which consequently stresses them up.

●     Possible injuries

While handling axolotls outside the water, you could break their legs, or they could sustain similar injuries in the process. Therefore, when picking them up, use both hands and wrap them around their body without choking them.

Your grip on this amphibian should be firm but gentle. If you can’t be careful or gentle when holding axolotls out of the water, you shouldn’t bother with it, or you could harm, stress, injure, or worse, kill them.

●     Infections

You should wash your hands before picking your pet up so germs on your hands won’t infect your axolotl. When holding them, ensure you monitor how moist they are at different intervals within the hour so they don’t dehydrate.

When they do, mucus coats can appear on their body and affect them badly. You can gently place them back in the tank when you’re done with them.

That’s the way they can stay alive for long.

Can Axolotls Breathe Outside of Water?

Of course, axolotls can breathe outside of water. If they couldn’t, they wouldn’t survive for as long as they do when on land. Remember that we said that adult axolotls have external lungs on their skin which they can breathe with when outside.

Even so, they have their gills that help them survive outside the tank. When in water, axolotls use their gills to take in oxygen to survive.

These gills also work when they are out but not as much as in the water. And you would notice their gills move as a sign of distress because they cannot take in as much oxygen they need to live.

Since their gills can’t help much when they are outside, they would need to survive on the residual oxygen in their lungs. So another thing they do is to breathe through their cheek, that is, through buccal respiration.

Additionally, axolotls can also breathe through their skins and lungs, but it still isn’t enough for them to survive for too long outside water. Therefore, all their breathing outside the tank combined can’t preserve them for so long.

So, the best place for them to be is in their tank.

Can Axolotls Walk On Land?

Although axolotls are amphibians they can’t move effectively on land. Their body, gills, limps, and everything matches the aquatic space that all these can’t function appropriately on land.

Their bodies are more inclined to move and swim in the water. Even their legs and muscles function better in water. Who would’ve thought?

Since they have lived in the water for so long, it is usually somehow difficult for them to move around on land. However, it doesn’t dismiss their capability to move, but at an extremely slow pace.

This is because their limbs are not strong enough for proper movement on land. Apart from that, they have less energy and oxygen left to move effectively.

It’s okay to say that they are better safe in the water than struggling to survive before getting back into their safe haven. Therefore, don’t try to stress your axolotl and force it to walk when you take it out.

When they move, their breathing capacity reduces, and they may only get to last a few minutes. So you would be lucky if they lasted up to an hour.

So, you shouldn’t stress your axolotl limbs when you take them out of the water. Better still, transfer them to another tank.

How Do You Know Your Axolotls Are Stressed?

Keeping your axolotl outside its natural habitat can stress it, but sometimes, you may have no idea, especially if you don’t have much experience with them. When your axolotls are stressed, you will notice their damaged slime coat and their curled gills, limbs, or tails.

These are the cases of extreme stress in your pet which is utterly unsafe. You will only be lucky if your axolotls survive extreme stress.

They could survive some hours or days with difficult breathing and may die afterward. Apart from removing your axolotls from water, inappropriately handling them can stress them out, so you need to be careful with medicating or transferring them.

Therefore, you should not bother with leaving your axolotl on land because it can lead to extreme stress and, consequently, death, which you want to avoid.

Without stress, your healthy axolotls can live for 15 years in your tank, and you can share beautiful pictures of them with your friends online.


You might be familiar with other amphibians, but you need to be extra careful with axolotls. If you just started keeping them or plan to get one, you should know that the answer to “can axolotls go on land” is yes, but with a strongly advisable no.

Why? You will probably stress them, which could lead to their death. Sure thing, they can survive a few minutes, but that is all.

You should only take out your axolotls when you want to medicate them or clean their tank and place them in water when you do. Moreover, you should handle them gently and carefully and ensure you keep your hands clean when holding them.

Remember, your axolotls can only live long when you stick to the rules. Good luck!

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