Will Adult Axolotls Eat Babies?

Axolotls are unique and fascinating amphibians, yet they are also carnivores with decidedly cannibalistic traits. As natives of the Mexican water canals in the region of Xochimilco, these salamanders will feed on a meat diet in the wild. 

What and How Do Axolotls Eat?

They feed on small animals such as slugs, worms, insects, smaller salamanders, mosquito larvae, frog tadpoles, crickets, small crustaceans, and smaller fish in the waters of their natural habitat.

What Do Axolotls Eat

Axolotls only have a rudimentary set of teeth that are soft, so they don’t actually use them to chew or feed. These salamanders use their teeth to grab or snap down on prey, which they proceed to swallow whole.

For an axolotl to swallow its food whole, the prey must be small to avoid causing impaction in the digestive tract and obstructing the bowels if they are unable to regurgitate the food.

Axolotls do not eat plants or vegetation. As they move within the tank water, they may snap down on aquarium plants. They do not have a need for plants in their diets.

Will Axolotls Eat Their Babies?

Axolotls are notorious when it comes to eating. They will attempt to swallow anything that moves in front of them.

So, yes, as carnivores, axolotls will eat their fry and their eggs. Consequently, if you hope to breed axolotl, you will need to separate the parents from the young offspring.

Breeding will require you to watch your axolotls closely as the breeding season nears. Once the female axolotl has given birth, she, and the male if still in the tank, should be removed to separate aquariums.

Once the adults are removed, your only task will be to feed them adequately until they mature into adults.

What Should I Do with Axolotl Eggs?

What Should I Do with Axolotl Eggs

If you do not wish to breed, leave the eggs in the water tank with the adults. The axolotl parents will eat the eggs if and when they are hungry.

If you wish instead to breed, you will need to separate the parents from their newly laid eggs. You can create a barrier within the tank or prepare a separate aquarium. Axolotls will not win any awards as parents. Their priority is eating and not their offspring.

Can Axolotls Ever Live Together with Their Babies?

Axolotls do not recognize their babies as offspring. They only recognize that they are prey and hence a potential meal.

This dilemma has no solution as nature will take its course. The only feasible alternative would be creating a barrier within the aquarium that keeps them separated.

Your best course of action is to observe your axolotl and witness the female depositing her eggs. Collect the eggs immediately and move them to a new aquarium tank. They face no risks if they are kept separated from their parents.

Problems may arise as the fry develop. If some of the juvenile axolotls are larger than others, the smaller fry will be at risk to be eaten.

Axolotl fry can only live in the same aquarium if they are approximately the same size. If an axolotl is hungry, it will attempt to eat or swallow anything in the vicinity that is moving and fit in its mouth.

See also: Can 2 Axolotls Live Together?

Should I Move the Axolotl Mother After She Lays Her Eggs?

Mom axolotl will not defend her young or her eggs. She will eventually look at her eggs as a meal. So, separation is your only option if you wish to save axolotl babies.

You can remove the adults from the tank and transfer them to a separate tank or you can remove the eggs. Your primary concern should be that the eggs are separated from the parents.

You may prefer to remove the adults as the eggs can be very fragile. This would eliminate the risk of damaging them during the transfer.

What is the Safest Way to Remove Axolotl Eggs from the Tank?

Remove My Axolotl from Its Tank

Removing an adult axolotl is much simpler than removing eggs. Gently pick them up, one at a time, and move them into another tank that has previously been prepared.

Should you prefer to remove the eggs, you can do so by hand if you are gentle enough and feel confident about attempting to move them.

An alternative for moving axolotl eggs from an aquarium is to use a small cup or scooper and carefully roll the eggs into it. Then you can move the eggs to another tank without damaging them during the transfer.

Place the cup or scooper into a previously prepared tank and gently move the eggs into the tank. Now you simply wait until the eggs hatch.

See also: How Often Do Axolotls Eat?

How Long Will the Eggs of Axolotls Require to Hatch?

If your tank water temperature measures at approximately 65° F or thereabouts, the eggs will need at least twenty days to hatch.

One advantage to separating the eggs from the parents is that you can raise the aquarium temperature to hatch the eggs sooner.

By raising the water temperature to roughly 77°F, your pet’s eggs will hatch more or less in 14 days. If you are prepared for the birthing, you can speed things along. Should you want more time to prepare just keep the temperature at 65°F.

Once your axolotl eggs hatch, you can begin feeding them live tiny micro worms.

Will Axolotls Eat Their Babies?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes, axolotls will eat their babies and they will also eat their eggs. This can appear to be a huge problem for breeders, but with proper separation of the parent axolotls from the eggs, breeding is much easier than one might assume.

Simply separate the adults from the eggs. Allow the eggs time to hatch and begin feeding your fry once they appear. Once eggs have hatched, you may want to move your fry, depending on how many survive, to a larger aquarium if you feel more space is needed.

As they grow, they will inevitably need more space. This is an important consideration as axolotls are solitary creatures that need space and have a sense of territory that they will instinctively want to defend.

Axolotls do not treat their babies, they eat them. However, axolotl babies do not require parental participation to hatch, grow, and survive. These salamanders are true independents!

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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