(Ambystoma mexicanum)

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Frogs Forever?
IUCN Conservation Status
Critically Endangered (CR)


Large high-altitude lakes, and inland wetlands/Near the Southern edge of Mexico City


Size: 9 to 12" long • Weight: 60 to 110g

Wild Axolotls are exclusively found in one area of the world: slightly south of Mexico City. But human development is encroaching on its wetland habitat, and these astonishing amphibians are sadly now critically endangered.

The Axolotl (pronounced ACK-suh-LAH-tuhl) is a special type of salamander… one with superpowers! They have the unique ability to regenerate lost limbs without leaving so much as a scar.

Though some guests may have difficulty recalling its name, they rarely forget seeing an Axolotl’s happy face surrounded by fluffy gills. The reason for their adorable appearance is a characteristic known as neoteny, meaning they retain some juvenile characteristics as adults. Talk about a fountain of youth!

And as if being forever-babies wasn’t cute enough, their mouths are positioned in a permanent smile emoji. But don’t be fooled! The sweet and smiley Axolotl is not as innocent as it looks – they are formidable hunters. Axolotls (literally) suck. Their mouths act as powerful vacuum cleaners to suction up food when it’s time to eat. Oh, and did you know that newly hatched Axolotls, hungry for their first meal, will sometimes snack on their siblings’ limbs? They do grow back, after all…

Check out these superhero salamanders in our Frogs Forever? gallery next time you swim by the Vancouver Aquarium!

Things To Know


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