Axolotls In The Wild and As Pets: What do they eat?

Axolotls are not your usual creature or your regular pet that you’re familiar with. You need to be careful with what you do with them or feed them.

While they are fragile, caring for them isn’t difficult. For one, they don’t require constant care and will do fine without frequent monitoring. However, you shouldn’t make any mistakes when it comes to their food.

If they’re special, what do axolotls eat anyway? Well, their meal isn’t out of the world. They’re common food you already know of, but they don’t eat everything available due to their body makeup.

Find out what you can feed your axolotls, so you can go shopping right away!

Let’s get started.

What Do Axolotls Eat In The Wild Vs. As Pets

Axolotls-in-a-cave

Axolotls, before they became pets, lived in Lake Xochimilco in Mexico. So, somehow, their diet in the wild will be a bit different from what they eat as pets.

Axolotls are carnivorous salamanders before we get into that, so they eat meat-based food, highly rich in protein. Before getting food for your axolotl, of course, you need to understand how they feed in their natural habitat, so you can follow that.

In the wild

As mentioned, axolotls are carnivores, so they eat anything meaty in the wild. In the lake, they have many food options because they are not the only creatures living there.

While other animals can prey on them and eat them, they prey on other smaller creatures that serve as food. Whenever they are hungry, they can eat:

  • Crickets
  • Insects
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Slugs
  • Worms
  • Snails
  • Small crustaceans
  • Frog tadpoles
  • Small fish
  • Small salamanders
  • Other small animals in the lake

Basically, they will eat any small animal in their habitat that they can overpower. Axolotls have sensitive noses, as it’s their way of sensing and locating food.

They eat by sucking at the creatures and swallowing them. In addition, they can’t tear or chew, so the food they eat has to fit their mouth so they can swallow easily.

By the way, that is something you should note when feeding your axolotl. They often swallow their food whole together with water as well.

Also, axolotls are nocturnal; therefore, they hunt their food mostly at night, which you may notice in your pet as time goes on. But of course, your axolotl food isn’t limited to just these, because you can spice up their diet when you keep them as pets.

What do axolotls eat as pets?

As pets

Apart from feeding your axolotl the food they eat in the wild, you can feed them different meals. Of course, those food options may not always be available, so you need to add varieties to their meal.

Basically, axolotls need to eat small meat-based food to fit in their mouth. What can they eat?

  • Water-based insects like cricket, mosquitoes, etc., that are small enough for them to swallow at once.
  • Different types of worms like nightcrawlers, bloodworms, and blackworms.
  • Daphnia
  • Brine shrimps
  • Tubifex
  • Sinking pellets

You can get many of these foods from local stores or sellers without going to lakes to source your axolotl food. However, when buying food for your axolotl, ensure you are careful and check the quality of the food.

Sometimes, the sellers may have mixed them with some chemicals that can be bad for your pet. Other times, they may contain insects or parasites that can harm your fish.

Most important, get organically sourced food if you don’t want your axolotls to fall sick. You can also get freeze-dried food, if you can get your hands on any.

Wash the meals thoroughly before feeding your axolotl. In addition, you also need to pay attention to the life stage your axolotl is in because, for example, baby axolotls can’t eat all kinds of food.

They are younger, extremely fragile and need more care, and may not be able to swallow some food. On the other hand, the adult axolotls will eat any of the food above, especially brine shrimps, nightcrawlers, and other live foods.

But what should the baby axolotl eat?

What To Feed Baby Axolotls

axolotls-near-a-blue-seaweed

You might be wondering if you are alone in the ignorance of baby axolotls diet plan. Well, the good news is that you are not alone, many aquarists like yourself have wondered the same thing.

Baby axolotls are small and can’t eat large sizes of foods like adults. Otherwise, they may choke or experience other painful digestive problems.

This is why you need to feed them very small food that they can swallow at once. Some small foods you can feed your baby axolotls are:

  • Daphnia
  • Smaller pellets

Daphnia, for example, is highly nutritious and very beneficial to your baby axolotl’s growth. They are small and can fit in their mouth easily. 

However, for this same reason, your adult axolotls can’t eat them because they can hardly see them, let alone be big enough to satisfy them.

Also, small pellets will fit in baby axolotl’s mouth. Of course, you have to ensure the pellets are meat-based, so your axolotls can enjoy them.

How Often Should You Feed Axolotls?

Axolotls don’t need to eat too much food to grow and thrive as they should. You can feed them once a day, thrice a week, or every other day and they will be okay.

Majorly, adult axolotls can live without food for two weeks without falling sick, so they don’t need to follow a strict timetable. However, you still need to feed them properly and well, so they can grow. 

But the same isn’t true for baby axolotls. They are still young and need to get all the nutrients they need from the food you give them. At least once a day is okay for your baby axolotls to grow.

Also, you need to be careful when feeding axolotls, both adult, and baby. Ensure you avoid overfeeding them to prevent constipation or obstruction.

How To Feed Axolotls

Feeding axolotls isn’t as simple as dumping the food in their tank and going away. While you can do that and get away with it, it is most times not the best thing to do.

You know axolotls have shallow and small teeth that can hardly chew any food. Therefore, you can’t feed them food that will stress them or be too hard to swallow, regarding food quality and size.

So, follow these tips to feed your axolotls better:

  1. Cut their food into smaller sizes and chunks that are easily swallowable. This makes swallowing and digesting food easier, including reducing choking risks.
  2. When feeding axolotls life food, use tweezers to place them in the tank so they can easily get to it. This helps you maintain a clean tank after feeding because there’ll be hardly any food left loitering the tank. However, you need to be careful with tweezers, so check if there are no sharp or rough edges that can harm your axolotls.
  3. You can also use a turkey baster to feed your axolotls, move the food around and remove leftovers.
  4. Feed baby axolotls live foods. After all, their movements draw axolotls to the meal because their sense of smell wouldn’t be fully developed yet.
  5. Ensure you clean the tank after feeding to remove leftovers and prevent water breakdown or rot, resulting in ammonia spikes and other harmful situations for your axolotl.

Can Axolotls Eat Fish Food?

axolotls-swimming-near-plants

Since axolotls are aquatic animals, naturally, people would assume they should be able to eat fish food. You probably wonder too. 

So, of course, axolotls can eat fish food!

The major thing is that the fish food needs to be highly proteinous and, most importantly, meat-based. There are carnivorous fish foods for carnivores, and those are the kinds of foods for your pet.

For example, you can feed them:

  • Pellets
  • Live food
  • Frozen foods
  • Raw meat
  • Other meat-based fish foo

You can get these foods from local or online stores and feed your axolotls. Also, try to spice up their meal, so they don’t eat just a particular type of food.

Once in a while, throw in some fish food and watch your axolotls enjoy them.

Food Prohibited For Axolotls

Axolotls can’t eat every kind of food. Some foods your axolotls eat can harm them and make them sick. 

They should completely avoid these types of foods:

  • Live food with a hard shell. Axolotls cannot chew them, and they may disrupt their digestive system.
  • Preserved or processed meat. For example, salami. This is due to the meats’ processes, including preservatives and chemical additions that can be bad for your axolotls.
  • Fruit or veggies. This is obvious because axolotls are carnivorous animals and won’t eat vegetables.
  • Meat from mammals like mice, for example, can be hard to digest for axolotls. Also, their body parts like bones or hearts, rich in fat, aren’t easily digestible.
  • Feeder fish isn’t an ideal food for your axolotl. While they are live aquatic animals that can serve as food, they can contain parasites and diseases which they can easily transfer to your pet.
  • Algae wafers because they are not exactly food for carnivorous animals.
  • Bread. They can’t chew bread, which may cause some problems to their digestive system.

Conclusion

What do axolotls eat? The answer is simple; mainly meat-based food since they are carnivorous. They can eat live food, pellets, nightcrawlers, bloodworms, daphnia, shrimps, tubifex, and other meaty foods.

However, not all meaty foods are good for axolotls, especially with hard shells, including feeder fish or mammals. So, when feeding your axolotls, ensure you give them the moderate size of foods so there are no leftovers and so they don’t choke.

Good luck!

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