Axolotls are undoubtedly the cutest salamander species in the world, and potentially one of the cutest aquatic pets someone can own. These lizard-like creatures come in a variety of colors and are most famously known for their permanent smiles.
Obviously, you can’t play with an axolotl in the same way as a dog or a cat, but surely their unique appearance and popularity in the pet trade means that they’re more interesting to own than regular salamanders, right?
If you’re looking to add an axolotl to your family, or if you already have an axolotl, you might be wondering “Do axolotls have personalities?”. Here is everything you need to know about whether axolotls have personalities, including their trainability and friendliness to humans!
Table of Contents
- Do Axolotls Have Personalities?
- Can Axolotls Learn Tricks?
- Do Axolotls Recognize Their Owners?
- Do Axolotls Feel Love?
- Do Axolotls Like Attention?
Do Axolotls Have Personalities?
To put it simply, some axolotls have personalities, while others don’t. Some axolotls are extremely energetic and responsive to humans, while others are more on the shy side. Unfortunately, you won’t know what personality your axolotl will have until you bring it home with you!
It all comes down to allowing your axolotl to settle into their new tank before expecting it to do backflips. Well, axolotls won’t exactly perform backflips, but there’s a chance you can help an axolotl to come out of its shell once it has settled into its new home.
Like most new pets who don’t require affection (such as snakes and lizards and fish), axolotls will settle in faster and be happier if you just leave them alone.
You’ll know they have settled in once they appear out of their hiding spaces more often, which can take anywhere between 3 days to 2 weeks depending on the axolotl’s confidence.
However, owners can make small steps to interact with their axolotl during their settling-in period. Like with most pets, if you don’t interact with your axolotl enough, they probably won’t show any form of personality.
This is because your axolotl won’t recognize you, and also because you haven’t spent enough time with the axolotl to understand its quirks. You’ve got to get to know your axolotl and vice versa.
The best way to interact with your axolotl to bring out their personality is to hand-feed them. To give your axolotl food, take the food between your fingers or with a forceps and slowly move it down to the bottom of the tank next to the axolotl.
Make sure to hold the food gently enough for the axolotl to suck the food away from you. If you do this on a regular basis, this will prevent your axolotl from being skittish and unsure of human contact, which results in a lack of personality.
However, hand-feeding your axolotl will encourage them to feel safe around your hands and fingers, which in turn will create a positive association between the axolotl and its owner.
The more you hand-feed your axolotl, the more their personality will come out. Some axolotls are known to get very excited when they see their owner come near the tank, either swimming back and forth or even tapping on the glass to get your attention. This is because they want food from you.
Can Axolotls Learn Tricks?
If your axolotl seems particularly responsive when you come near the tank, you can even try to teach them tricks.
Some owners have taught their axolotls to spin around in a circle or to swim back and forth to receive their food.
This is all achieved by moving the food around in between your fingers in a certain manner which will encourage them to mimic these actions whenever they want food.
Do Axolotls Recognize Their Owners?
A common question that I get asked is: “Do axolotls recognize their owners?”. Axolotls are said to become very aware of their surroundings as a result of their intelligence when it comes to recognizing shapes and smells.
As axolotls don’t have a huge environment to explore in their tank, they become very aware of their immediate surroundings, which can also include recognizing their owner.
If you interact with your axolotl enough by hand-feeding them regularly, they will eventually start to recognize you. They will associate the shape of your fingers and the smell of your skin with food, and therefore gratification and care.
However, if you don’t hand-feed your axolotl regularly, they won’t have formed this bond with your hand, which can lead to an anxious and timid axolotl.
Do Axolotls Feel Love?
Unfortunately, there currently is no evidence to suggest that axolotls feel love or affection. To put it rather harshly, axolotls are very simple creatures that exist in the same way as most animals.
Their lives revolve around seeking shelter, establishing a territory, sourcing food, and avoiding predators. Even though axolotls in captivity aren’t exposed to predators like in the wild, their natural instincts suggest otherwise.
The truth is, axolotls were never meant to be kept as pets, which means they’re not really capable of feeling love.
In some cases, owners will flatten their hand at the bottom of the tank with the palm facing upwards, inviting the axolotl to sit comfortably in their palm. Some axolotls will even playfully nibble at their owner’s fingers.
Do Axolotls Like Attention?
Axolotls are naturally solitary creatures. And, they’ve only recently been domesticated. As a result, axolotls don’t look for attention, nor do they really care for it.
As a matter of fact, in its natural environment, the axolotl has thrived by being stealthy and drawing as little attention to itself as possible. This has allowed it to become a top predator in its natural habitat, and hunt and ambush its prey with success.
So, do axolotls have personalities? The truth is, there isn’t a clear answer.
It all comes down to allowing your axolotl enough time to settle into their new home and providing them with enough human interaction through hand-feeding to encourage some form of personality and expression.