Axolotl in exhibit


Scientific Name

Ambystoma mexicanum






Lake Xochimilco in Mexico


Freshwater lakes and water channels

Estimated Wild Population

Less than 100
Axolotl in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Critically Endangered IUCN Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

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Physical Description

Axolotls are salamanders with feathery gills and finned tails that help with swimming. Some are covered with vivid colors and others are pure white, and adults can reach up to one foot in length. Females have a rounder body than males. These amphibians prefer a solitary lifestyle but are active throughout the day and night. They sit near the top of the food chain in their natural habitat, second only to an introduced invasive species, and will eat anything from fish to arthropods.

Interesting Fact 1

Axolotls have an elaborate courtship ritual that involves nudging and "dancing" in a circular motion.

Interesting Fact 2

They communicate using visual and chemical cue, and can even detect electric fields.

Interesting Fact 3

These salamanders were once native to two Mexican lakes, Lake Chalco and Lake Xochimilco. However, humans drained Lake Chalco to prevent flooding, and axolotls are now confined to only Lake Xochimilco.

Animal Care staff working with seal

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Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

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The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy.  

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