Do Axolotls Need Affection?

If you’ve always wanted to keep an aquatic pet other than fish, then axolotls might be the right pet for you. 

Unlike many other aquatic species that require high maintenance, axolotls are easier to live with. 

They like minding their business; though, it doesn’t mean that they’re shy. Every pet parent showers their pets with a lot of love and affection, and the gesture is reciprocated. But the question here is, do axolotls need affection to be happy?

Axolotls are sleepy little buggers that can’t express their joy when they see you like a dog does. But, it doesn’t mean that they don’t like affection. As strange as it might sound, axolotls even have their own way to tell you that they like you!

Do Axolotls Need Affection

This article sheds light on many untouched secrets about the personality of axolotls that’ll help you keep yours happy at home. 

Dive in for details!

Do axolotls love?

As exotic as they are, they’ve many times been labeled as incapable of feeling affection and giving it back. That, however, isn’t true. If you think that your axolotl is unfriendly, we’d say, think again!

Axolotls are very intelligent and they like affection (in their own ways, though). They won’t really require lots of cuddles and belly rubs (if that’s what you need, get a pupper), but they do require attention. 

They might not really be interested in you when you bring them home, but, being the curious explorers that they are, they will certainly try to get to know you. 

If you keep your axolotl happy and once it has settled down, it will start relaxing in your presence and might even come and sit on your palms. 

So, they do give love back if they feel safe around you. Axolotls even respond to the movement of their pet parents and swim freely when they’re around.

Do axolotls show affection?

If your idea of affection is a wagging tail or belly rubs, axolotls aren’t the right pets for you. In fact, the crossbred axolotls aren’t very social either. 

The wild-type axolotls are the ones that are active and social in comparison to the lab-synthesized ones.

But, if you think your axolotl is detached, dumb, and incapable of showing affection, you’ve got to learn a little more about them.

Yes, they like alone-time. In fact, at times, axolotls don’t even like to interact with fellow axolotls in the tank. But, that’s just the way they are. 

You’ve got to earn their trust by not startling them, feeding them, and letting them nibble at your fingers (make sure your hands are super clean since the skin of axolotls is extremely delicate). 

Once they trust you and feel comfortable in your presence, they will respond to your smell (yes, they have a very strong sense of smell that compensates for their weak eyesight). 

So, axolotls are entirely capable of feeling love and showing affection. You’ve just to look for the signs. 

Top 4 signs that your axolotl likes you

Now that you know that axolotls are not as emotionless as people think they are, you might want to know if your axolotl really likes you. 

If yes, look for the following four signs. If your axolotl shows any of these signs, they certainly like your company. 

#1. They won’t hide 

We’re sure that by now you know that axolotls don’t require a lot of interaction to stay happy. So, they usually like to mind their business and stay alone. 

But, if your axolotl likes you, it will start showing signs of activities like floating and swimming around when you approach the tank.

Now, this can also be a sign that your axolotls connect your scent to that of a caregiver who feeds them. But, even then, it means that your axolotl feels a connection with you. 

#2. They will float freely 

When you approach the tank, they shouldn’t hide. If they do, it’s a bad sign – it means your presence stresses your axolotls. 

On the flip side, if the gills are relaxed and the axolotl freely floats even when it senses your presence, it means it’s really comfortable when you’re around. 

#3. They will chase your finger 

Axolotls don’t get bored easily. Although they do like the company of fellow axolotls, they don’t crave it. 

So, if your axolotl shows so much interest in you that it starts playing with you by following your finger against the tank, you’ve managed to create a bond of comfort and trust.

#4. They will sit on your palms 

Did you know that axolotls aren’t at all fond of being lifted? So, if your axolotl goes to the measure that it sits on your palms, you should be a very happy pet parent. It’s a sign of absolute trust and comfort. 

Do axolotls need attention?

First of all, axolotls are really intelligent. At the same time, they’re extremely independent aquatic species. They don’t really need any sort of attention or special treatment. 

It’s this independent nature that attracts many people to get an axolotl as a pet. You can leave it alone and it won’t scream for you as a dog would. 

This is also the reason that people have a misconception that axolotls are incapable of loving. They like solitude but it doesn’t mean they won’t love you back. 

If you can manage to create a bond of trust, you’ll have a very less demanding companion for many years (axolotls can easily live for 10 to 15 years). 

See also: What Color Will My Axolotls Be? (17 Colors)


1. Do axolotls like being petted?

Axolotls aren’t really a fan of being petted or cuddled. They don’t cherish a lot of attention until you’ve formed a bond of trust with them. Even then, they don’t need or like being petted and cuddled. 

2. Do axolotls have personalities?

Yes. Axolotls do have personalities. They’re an immensely intelligent species. Since they are underdeveloped, people assume that they’re not intelligent. But that’s not at all true.  

They like resting for most of their days. But, they get active when you approach their tank. Once they like you, they will playfully chase your finger and also rest on your palm. 

3. Are axolotls unfriendly?

Axolotls are unfriendly towards small fishes since they see them as prey. Now imagine, if someone is capable of dislike, how can they not feel other emotions like affection and love?

They aren’t very fond of human presence either unless it’s their caregiver (You since you feed them). 

They’re not at all unfriendly or dangerous for humans. They are very much capable of giving love and receiving affection.

4. Do axolotls smile?

If you own one, you’ll see that their face is curled upwards. That gives them an ever-smiling appearance. Wherein, in reality, that’s how the shape of their mouth is. 

5. Do axolotls get lonely?

As we’ve already mentioned, axolotls aren’t really social. In fact, they can easily survive without a fellow axolotl too. 

They don’t really get lonely unless they want to mate. However, it’s always a good idea to keep at least two axolotls. Though they don’t get lonely, with a fellow axolotl, they play. 

You might even find them sitting on top of each other. They bite each other when they’re annoyed. So, they don’t exactly get lonely but when they are two in a tank, they’re more active.

6. Do axolotls like to be picked up?

No, not at all. If you forcefully pick one, it will get stressed. Anything sudden startles an axolotl, and a startled axolotl is a stressed axolotl. 

Instead, let your axolotl be comfortable around you. Once it is, it will automatically come and sit on your palm.

Concluding Thoughts

Axolotls aren’t demanding at all. They can easily live without affection or attention. But, it doesn’t mean that they are incapable of loving and receiving love. 

They do like the attention of their pet parents. They stay happy when they are fed in time and they very much like it when they have a clear tank. 

If you think your axolotl isn’t responding to your voice, then that’s because an axolotl cannot hear voices. They can pick vibrations and might even recognize your scent (their sense of smell is really, really strong).

Once they trust you, not only will they enjoy your affection but they will also respond to your presence. Unlike the notion that they’re unfriendly, they’re actually carefree and very independent. 

When you bring home an axolotl, don’t expect it to be cuddly. It won’t wag its tail when you’re close. Look for axolotls-like signs of affection and love instead of expecting doggo-like love and behavior. If your axolotl is happy, it will reflect! 

Susan R Elliston

I have over 11 years of experience as a vet working with a wonderful variety of species of innocent and lovely animals. Whilst I still work two days a week for a local practice, I realized that I could help more people by sharing my knowledge and experience with my readers.

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