Do Axolotls Bite? [Does It HURT?]

Axolotls are loved for their cute little faces. Their large, grinning mouths in particular have a lot to do with that! Axolotls always seem to have a friendly smile on their face.

But, there’s a flip side to the coin…

To some, their oversized mouths can look scary! Some people wonder if axolotls bite their owners or their tank mates. So, in today’s post, I’m going to answer that question – and more!

So, do axolotls bite?

Axolotls bite. Axolotls may bite their owners for two main reasons: they mistake their owner’s hands for food, or they feel threatened. In most cases, an axolotl’s bite is not painful and feels more like a nip. Axolotl bites are unlikely to pierce the skin and draw blood. If bitten by an axolotl, you should wash your hands. If the bite leaves a wound, then you should use basic first aid principles to disinfect and dress the wound before seeking medical advice. Axolotls may also bite their tank mates, for the same reasons they may bite their owners. Axolotls are carnivorous and may bite their tank mates to eat them. In other cases, they may feel threatened or bothered and bite their tank mates to defend themselves or to chase them away.

In the post below, I’ll answer related questions in more depth:

Table of Contents

Do Axolotls Bite Featured Image

Why Do Axolotls Bite?

Axolotls bite for two main reasons:

  • To feed themselves.

Whilst these creatures are not typically vicious by nature, the main reason why they bite is that they are hardwired to continually search for potential food sources. This is because axolotls derive from an environment where they are renowned for being a top predator.

  • To defend themselves.

Axolotls have evolved to be at the top of their food chain. They are not naturally aggressive. And perhaps because their environment was relatively devoid of threats or predators, they haven’t evolved very complex defense mechanisms. Their main defense mechanism is to flee when possible. The alternative is to bite. So, whenever an axolotl feels threatened and doesn’t have the option to swim away, it may bite to fend off danger.

Below, I’ll explain why they may bite their owners. I’ll also explain why they may bite their tank mates.

Why Do Axolotls Bite Their Owner?

Axolotls may bite their owner for two main reasons:

  • They mistake their owner’s hands or fingers for food.
  • They get scared or feel threatened by their owner’s hand, and nip it to defend themselves from the perceived threat.

Why Do Axolotls Bite Their Tank Mates?

Axolotls may bite their tank mates for two main reasons:

  • They attack their tank mates to try to eat them.
  • They feel threatened or bothered by the presence of tank mates, and bite them to defend themselves or chase the tank mate(s) away.

Juvenile axolotls are cannibalistic. Under certain circumstances, such as tank overcrowding or when they’re underfed, they are known to bite their siblings to either maim or kill them to reduce competition and/or to eat them.

Do Axolotl Bites Hurt?

Axolotl bites are not generally painful to humans. In most cases, their bites will not pierce the skin or draw blood. You shouldn’t fear significant injury as these bites apply minimal pressure on the human skin. Their bites tend to feel like a nip or a pinch.

However, pain is relative and everybody has a different pain threshold. What might hurt me may not hurt you. Children in particular may feel like an axolotl bite hurts.

What To Do If Bitten By An Axolotl?

If you get bitten by an axolotl, you should always wash your hands. In the rare instances where the bite pierces the skin and leaves a wound, you should use basic first aid principles such as disinfecting with an anti-bacterial solution and dressing the wound with a band-aid before seeking medical advice.

Note: you should always wash your hands after feeding your axolotl, or touching it, its food, its tank, or any of its accessories.

The main thing to remember when bitten by your axolotl is that it is far more likely to be injured during the process than you are. Therefore, you should check on your pet to ensure that they haven’t been hurt during the process.

Whilst axolotls can regenerate organs and limbs, this process will take a long period of time, and thus, handling them softly is the best way to ensure that they remain healthy.

How To Stop An Axolotl From Biting?

To stop an axolotl from biting its owner, or to stop it from biting its tank mates, you can try a number of things.

How To Stop An Axolotl From Biting Its Owner?

To stop an axolotl from biting its owner, the easiest thing to do is for the owner to avoid putting their hands in the tank.

Axolotls don’t like to be touched or petted down anyway. Because they’re 100% aquatic creatures, they also shouldn’t be taken out of their tank.

Moreover, axolotls can be handfed with the help of a forceps or by placing their food in a container with the help of a forceps or turkey baster.

Therefore, you shouldn’t really need to put your hands in your axolotl tank. This will further reduce the already low risk of being bitten.

How To Stop An Axolotl From Biting Its Tank Mates?

To stop an axolotl from biting its tank mates, the easiest thing to do is not to introduce tank mates in the first place.

Axolotls are solitary creatures. They prefer solitude over the company of tank mates, including other axolotls.

If you decide to introduce tank mates, choose their species and numbers wisely! I have written an entire guide on that topic. Check out Axolotl Tank Mates [Complete Guide].

Also, ensuring axolotls are well-fed is another way to stop them from biting. Axolotls tend to be slightly more aggressive – and bite more frequently – if they’re stressed due to malnutrition.


Axolotls bite but it’s not out of aggression or malice. Why do axolotls bite humans then? Axolotls mainly snap at their owners if they mistake their hands for food, and in rare cases when they feel threatened. Axolotls don’t bite for fun! Axolotls may however bite their tank mates, if they consider them to be a food source or if they feel threatened by them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does My Axolotl Keep Biting Me?

Your axolotl might keep biting you if it thinks your hands or fingers are food. Sometimes, axolotls also bite out of fear, in order to defend against a perceived threat. However, it’s also possible that your axolotl is more feisty than average, and it might be biting because it’s naturally more aggressive than the majority of axolotls.

Do Axolotls Have Sharp Teeth?

Axolotls do not have shart teeth. Check out Do Axolotls Have Teeth? for more information about axolotl teeth.

Are Axolotls Aggressive?

Axolotls are not aggressive creatures. They are in fact very docile. However, they may on occasion bite – both their owners and their tank mates. However, this must not be mistaken for aggression, as in most cases axolotls bite because they either mistake what they’re biting for food, or because they feel threatened.

How Do I Stop My Axolotl From Biting Each Other?

To stop axolotls from biting each other, you should consider separating them into different tanks. If this is not an option, or if you’re trying to breed axolotls, then make sure that they get enough food and that their tank is big enough for both of them.


Hello and welcome to Pets From Afar. I'm Glen. My daughter Siri and I are mad about axolotls. I created this website to document our findings and experiences, as we learn more about these amazing amphibians. Follow along and enjoy the fun!

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