Axolotls Lifespan | How long do axolotls live as pets?


Axolotls begin their lives as eggs, grow and transform into fully grown salamanders. This usually happens within a year range, and if you’re keeping an axolotl as a pet, you’re more likely to get them as an adult.

Now, the problem isn’t you getting them as an adult, egg, or larvae; it’s more about your pet living for as long as it should. But how long do axolotls live as pets, you may wonder? 

Your axolotls’ lifespan depends on a lot of things, including you as well. Of course, every pet owner wants their domestic animal to live long so they can bond with them.

But, a little mistake can have you saying goodbye too soon to your pet. Find out how long your pet can live and how you can preserve their lifespan.

Let’s begin.

Are Axolotls Strong Animals?

Axolotls are pretty much fragile animals, and harsh conditions can get to them, whether in the wild or in captivity. They are extremely sensitive to environmental changes in their natural home or tank.

If the water situation is bad, it can affect their activities and health and can make them die quickly. So, you might not want to consider them as tough as some other pets.

While keeping axolotls as pets, you should know that their tank shouldn’t be too hot or warm, or it’ll worsen your axolotl condition or reduce their lifespan. Caring for axolotls as a first-timer isn’t an easy job but understanding them can make it much easier and smoother for you.

Moreover, knowing their life cycle can help you predict their life span and help you know better how to care for your axolotl to extend their life.

Axolotls Life Cycle

These amphibians, axolotls, live most of their life inside water, from egg to adulthood. Their breeding period is usually during spring and can extend to June, and axolotls usually start from the egg stage.

Before delving deeper, these are the different axolotls’ life stages:

  • Egg stage
  • Embryo stage
  • Larva without legs stage
  • Larva with two legs stage
  • Young adult stage
  • Adult stage

After the females lay their eggs, they stay that way for a while before moving to the next stage. Note that during the breeding season, the female can lay up to a thousand eggs; then, they start developing.

After a while, the eggs transform into the embryo stage. At this stage, the eggs start having a jelly-like appearance with black or white spots on them. 

This helps protect the eggs from harm until they fully form and hatch. After a while, the embryos will start growing their heads and bodies as they enter the larva stage.

Additionally, axolotls usually have a see-through appearance with their organs visible at this stage, and they don’t usually have legs. They also can’t move around quickly due to a lack of legs.

Gradually, they then grow into the larva stage, where they have two legs. Their front legs spring out first before the two rear legs, then they can move around better.

Axolotls start becoming sexually active as they move into the young adult stage. They can also start living alone at this point.

If you intend to keep young axolotls as pets before they grow into adults, you should keep them in separate tanks because they are usually aggressive at this stage and can attack one another. 

Finally, axolotls grow into adults with full body parts. In the adult stage, they keep living till they die naturally. Here, they are capable of breeding egg axolotls. 

If nothing goes wrong at this stage, they can live till at most 15 years. 

What’s Axolotls’ Lifespan As Pets Vs. In The Wild?

Generally, the estimated lifespan of axolotls is 15 years, whether in the wild or as pets, but that could vary depending on different factors. For example, axolotls in the wild can live between 5 to 10 years on average, and this is because some circumstances hinder some of them from living beyond that.

On the other hand, pet axolotls can live between 10 to 15 years and 12 years on average. Why do axolotls get to live longer as pets than in the wild, which is their natural home

Well, axolotls are fragile animals, and there is little they can do to protect themselves in the wild compared to how sheltered they are in tanks as pets.

In the wild, they can die due to:

  1. Attacks from predators, both from animals living in the same habitat as them and locals who hunt them for food. Since axolotls are slow and fragile, they have no means to fight or protect themselves from those attacks.
  2. Parasitic elements in the water.
  3. Pollution and water contamination from the locals, especially due to the urbanization going on around Lake Xochimilco in Mexico.
  4. Infections, majorly from water contamination and pollution in the water.
  5. Habitat loss. In the past, over the years, the Mexican government drained some lakes, which were homes to axolotls due to urbanization, leaving only a few surviving ones.

As pets, axolotls have lesser things to deal with, so they get to live longer. There are only a few lives left in wild axolotls salamanders in those situations. 

This is not to say that pet axolotls have a soft landing in their tanks. Even though they ought to, sometimes, the reverse is the case due to the pet owner’s fault. 

In captivity, owners ought to help their pets live longer, but if they fail, it becomes a problem. And these are the things you should know, so you don’t make the same mistake after you get your pet axolotls. 

What Can Cause Increased Fatality Rate In Axolotls?

In captivity, a lot of things can cut short axolotls’ lifespan. Of course, they ought to live up to 15 years, or more if they get adequate care, but if you don’t care for them as you should, your axolotls could die easily.

The following are some of the causes of axolotls death:

  1. Dirty tank water 

A dirty tank can kill your axolotls faster than you think. These exotic pets are very sensitive to water conditions, and when the water is too dirty, it becomes inhabitable, especially because of the presence of ammonia and nitrates.

  1. Sickness

You should think sickness is beyond axolotls. Therefore, you need to ensure you monitor your pet’s behavior for any abnormalities so you can care for them quickly.

  1. Heatstroke

When the tank and water temperature becomes slightly or extremely hot for them, it can dry their slime coat and kill them, so it is important to understand the appropriate tank setup.

  1. Carelessness and negligence

When you don’t attend to your axolotls at the appropriate time and leave them vulnerable, they could die.

  1. Manhandling 

Constantly picking your axolotls the wrong way or manhandling their tanks can also kill them, especially when you hold them in your hands or take them out of water. You should know that your axolotls can only survive up to an hour outside of water.

  1. Stress

If your axolotl is stressed, it increases the likelihood of Fatality. For example, taking your axolotls out of water or housing them with other aquatic animals can stress them.

  1. Infections 

Axolotls can die due to bacteria and infections from dried slime coats. So, you might want to be careful of what you place around your axolotls’ tank.

As an axolotl keeper, you need to ensure you care for your pet. However, this doesn’t mean you have to spend the entire 24 hours monitoring them.

In fact, axolotls are pretty easy to care for. Some of the things you can do are;

  • Keep them at ideal water parameters. The water should be between 60 to 64° Fahrenheit, 6.5 to 8 pH, and 7 to 14 GH.
  • Ensure you feed your axolotls with appropriate foods. Generally, they eat highly proteinous food and are carnivores, so they need meaty foods.
  • Do routine tank maintenance and maintain a clean aquarium at all times.
  • Ensure to hold your axolotl less. Plus, they don’t like people touching them.
  • Set the tank up appropriately with the right filter, substrate, plants, and other important things. 
  • If they must share the tank with other aquatic animals, ensure they won’t prey on your axolotls. For example, you can add other axolotls, minnows, snails, and shrimps, otherwise, one axolotl to a tank. 

Do Axolotls Have Regenerative Abilities?

Yes, axolotls have regeneration abilities and can grow some of their body parts. They can regrow their brain, limbs, lungs, and hearts. 

This ability and other factors contribute to their extended life expectancy. One would think this should help them to regenerate their lives.

However, they cannot regenerate their head or resurrect to life. Also, regeneration abilities cannot prevent them from dying from poison, impaction, and infection.

Basically, they are not immortal.


The answer to “how long do axolotls live as pets” is pretty simple — for as long as you care for them. Even though they have more chances to survive as pets, a little error can shorten their lifespan.

If you care for your axolotl properly, you can expect it to survive for 15 years and even up to 20. They just have to match your axolotls from the tank size to water quality, food quality, tank mate, and handling.

Remember, your axolotl is fragile, and you need to treat it accordingly. Good luck.

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