Axolotl in exhibit
Scientific Name
Ambystoma mexicanum
Geographic Range
Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco near Mexico City
Worms, mullusks, crustaceans, insect larvae, and small fish
Axolotl in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Critically Endangered Endangered Status Graph - Critically Endangered

More Information

Axolotls are a type of salamander that can get to 18 inches long and weigh between 2–8 ounces. They are descended from tiger salamanders and are considered a “young” species (from the last 10,000 years) with deep cultural significance. They are a lentic species, meaning that they live in still water lakes—just two, in fact, making them critically endangered. Axolotls hunt by inhaling their prey using suction and are more active at night.

These animals mate in the wild between March and June, starting the process with a waltz-like display. Once females have collected the males’ genetic material, they will lay between 500–1,000 eggs laid individually on plants or rocks. Axolotls are independent from birth and reach maturity at the age of six months.

Did You Know?

  • Axolotls are one of the most-studied salamanders in the world because they can regenerate their lungs, heart, limbs, jaws, spine, and even parts of their brain.
  • Axolotls are neotenic, meaning they keep their juvenile characteristics—like webbed feet, feathery gills, a body fin, and a tail—as adults.
  • Wild axolotls are usually black or mottled brown.
Animal Care staff working with seal

Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

Learn More

Support Your Zoo

Two Chilean flamingos in exhibit

Animals Depend On People Too

When you ADOPT an animal, you support world-class animal care by helping to provide specially formulated diets, new habitat elements, and regular veterinary checkups.

Adopt an Animal

Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

Wish List

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.

Browse the Wish List

African penguin eating a fish

Take Action With Us

Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

Take Action

Empty Playlist