So, you’ve weighed up the pros and cons of owning a pet axolotl. You understand the responsibilities of pet ownership and the many challenges ahead. But, you also believe that caring for an axolotl will be a fun, rewarding, and enriching experience!
Now that you’ve made up your mind and decided to buy a pet axolotl, you’re probably wondering where you can buy one! Naturally, the most popular and well-known pet stores come to mind. In particular, you’re wondering if PetSmart sells axolotls. In other words, can you buy an axolotl at PetSmart?
Here’s what you need to know if you’re wondering does PetSmart have axolotls:
PetSmart does not sell pet axolotls, either in-store or online. Axolotls are exotic pets with very specific needs and requirements. Moreover, in certain states they’re illegal and it is against the law to sell or own them. If you’re looking to buy a pet axolotl, you should instead contact an exotic pet specialist, in particular specialized axolotl breeders or vendors.
Table of Contents
- What Is PetSmart?
- Why Doesn’t Pet Smart Sell Axolotls?
- Can I Buy Axolotls Supplies At PetSmart?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is PetSmart?
PetSmart is a privately owned chain of retail pet superstores based in North America (United States, Puerto Rico & Canada). It’s the largest chain of pet stores, followed by Petco. You can think of PetSmart as a giant pet supermarket.
PetSmart sells a wide range of small pets (fish, birds, amphibians and reptiles, rodents, etc.), pet products (food, over-the-counter medication, accessories, etc.), pet services (daycare, grooming, dog and cat boarding, third party veterinary care and dog training) and provides pet adoption services in more than 1650 brick & mortar shops and via their online store.
NB: Not all stores offer all of these products & services.
For all the reasons highlighted above, it’s natural to expect that PetSmart would sell pet axolotls. However, they don’t.
Why Doesn’t Pet Smart Sell Axolotls?
I can’t say for sure why PetSmart doesn’t sell axolotls. It’s more than likely a deliberate business decision that the company made, rather than something they never considered. And given the size and success of PetSmart as a pet retailing business, I can only imagine it’s not a decision they took lightly.
Here are a few possible reasons I think PetSmart doesn’t sell axolotls. To know for sure, you’d have to ask PetSmart directly.
When evaluating whether or not to sell a particular pet, product, or service, businesses will first evaluate the business case for the same.
They will assess the following:
- The total number of axolotls sold per year, in the markets in which they operate.
- The average purchasing cost, sustaining cost (food, housing, medication, etc. needed until the axolotls are sold), and retail price.
- The potential for the sale of associated products and services (tanks, filters, food, etc.).
- The constraints associated with selling axolotls (regulations & laws, specific animal needs, etc.).
- The potential turnover & profit margin generated by the sale of axolotls & associated products & services.
In the case of axolotls, I imagine that the business case for selling axolotls wasn’t convincing enough. Indeed, axolotls are a relatively “niche” type of exotic pet. When you think about it, how many people even know what an axolotl is? A large percentage of people think about goldfish, canaries, or hamsters when they think about small pets, not axolotls.
Moreover, it’s also safe to assume that the legal landscape around axolotls, combined with their very specific needs, also contributed to the unconvincing business case for their sale.
Laws & Regulations
Axolotls are classified as exotic pets. In other words, they’re an uncommon type of pet that isn’t native to any of the 50 US states.
For this reason, there are risks associated with the sale of these animals, and laws & regulations have been introduced to mitigate these risks. When deciding whether or not to offer pet axolotls for sale to their customers, PetSmart almost certainly takes these laws & regulations into consideration.
The main issues associated with the escape of pet axolotls into the wild are the risk of them becoming an invasive species and the risk of hybridization.
An invasive species is a species that’s not native to a given habitat. When the species is introduced, it can thrive at the expense of the pre-existing populations of fauna and flora, and potentially damage or destroy the pre-existing ecosystem.
Hybridization occurs when two previously distinct species begin to breed with each other to create a new species.
If the axolotl were to be introduced into certain local habitats, the fear is that they might mate with local species of salamander to create a hybrid. This hybrid creature might then compete with, and potentially, displace or kill off the pre-existing species.
Laws & Regulations To Mitigate Risks
For the reasons highlighted above (but perhaps not exclusively), laws and regulations have been introduced to mitigate these risks.
And, while there is no blanket ban on axolotls at a federal level, each US state has decided on the legality of selling or owning pet axolotls. In certain cases, axolotls are illegal, in others they’re legal and in certain states they’re legal but a permit is required.
When deciding whether or not to sell any type of pet, it’s safe to assume that PetSmart takes into consideration the laws and regulations affecting that particular animal. And because the legality of axolotls is complicated and varies from one state to another, it’s likely that PetSmart decided to save themselves the trouble and decided not to carry axolotls in their stocklist.
Check out to determine if axolotls are legal in your state before you consider buying one.
If you’ve been learning about axolotls you probably already know that they are delicate creatures, with specific requirements. In particular, axolotls have very specific habitat and tank mate requirements.
Axolotls are very sensitive to the quality of their habitat. In particular, they need very high water quality, low to moderate water temperature, and dim lighting.
If these parameters are not satisfied, there’s a high likelihood that the axolotls will become stressed and/or ill, and perhaps even die.
As you can imagine, it’s very difficult to maintain these standards at scale. And it’s likely that PetSmart realized that selling axolotls would be very demanding and not something they were willing or able to commit to across their large network of stores.
Axolotls are solitary creatures, that prefer solitude over the presence of tank mates. Ideally, they need at least a 20-gallon tank for themselves. They don’t like sharing their tanks with other fish, reptiles, amphibians, or even other axolotls.
It’s hard to see how PetSmart would have been able to profitably house axolotls individually, in such large tanks, at scale across their network of stores.
Can I Buy Axolotls Supplies At PetSmart?
For the most part, axolotl supplies are no different from traditional fish-keeping supplies. Therefore, you will be able to buy most of your axolotl supplies at PetSmart.
Axolotl Tank & Accessories
For the most part, setting up an axolotl tank can be done with traditional fish-keeping supplies.
The tank, filter, bubbler, substrate, hides, decorations, plants, chemicals, and testing kits used for axolotl tanks are also used for fish tanks. You can buy most, if not all, of the above-mentioned items at PetSmart.
Axolotls are carnivores. In captivity, popular axolotl food staples are worms and insects.
Worms and insects are also pretty popular with other amphibians and reptiles, and PetSmart has a large selection of both live and frozen menu items which you can feed to your axolotl.
If you were looking to buy a pet axolotl at PetSmart, you’re out of luck.
PetSmart doesn’t sell axolotls, either in-store or online. The main reasons why PetSmart doesn’t sell axolotls seem to be because the business case wasn’t convincing, which itself is mainly linked to restrictive laws & regulations in certain states and the axolotl’s very specific requirements.
However, you can buy most of the axolotl supplies you need for your pet axolotl at PetSmart. This includes the tanks & accessories, as well as your axolotl food.
Finally, axolotls can be bought from specialized breeders are vendors. So, make sure to check out local options near you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can I Buy Axolotls?
Do Pet Stores Sell Axolotls?
Because axolotls are exotic pets, are subject to specific laws & regulations, and have very specific needs, most traditional pet stores or pet supermarket chains don’t sell axolotls.
How Much Does An Axolotl Cost?
Check out my guide How Much Do Axolotls Cost? [$ or $$$?] for a detailed article about the price of axolotls, cost of ownership etc.
What Other Animals Does PetSmart Sell?
PetSmart sells a wide range of predominantly small, domestic animals such as fish (both cold water and tropical), birds (budgies, canaries, parrots, etc.), reptiles (bearded dragons, geckos, pythons, etc.), amphibians (frogs, toads, etc,) and rodents (mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, ferrets, etc.). Their range varies from store to store, and on the availability of animals.