Native only to Mexico, axolotls are amphibians that have a growing fan base among those who love exotic pets. Though these creatures are not as common as snakes or leopard geckos, they are becoming popular across the world. Entertaining to watch and easy to care for, axolotls are special to a considerable degree. But how much do axolotls cost?
If you are planning to purchase an axolotl, find below what to expect in terms of their price.
How Much Do Axolotls Cost?
Axolotls are not expensive pets – generally, axolotls’ cost ranges from $30 to $75. However, the price may vary due to several factors, which will be discussed shortly. In addition to this price, axolotls also need spending on their habitat and regular maintenance, which can significantly increase the cost of keeping a pet axolotl. In fact, the pet axolotl itself is the cheapest part in the process of owning and housing an axolotl.
To portray a clear picture of the cost of keeping a pet axolotl, let’s break down the cost into one-time costs and the recurring cost of owning an axolotl.
Initial One-Time Cost of Owning an Axolotl
Typically a healthy axolotl would cost you around $30 to $75, but the cost may vary depending on the rarity of the given axolotl morph. For instance, where a Piebald axolotl would cost you about $100 or more, an Enigma axolotl would cost you over $1000. Moreover, getting your hands on very rare axolotls like Chimera and Mosaic axolotl would cost you a fortune.
Since axolotls are rare and hence not easily available in pet stores, their purchasers usually have to turn to online vendors, which means there will be an additional delivery fee of about $40 to $60, depending on the distance.
Axolotls Are EndangeredThere are only 700 to 1,200 axolotls currently alive. They live in Lake Xochimilco, Mexico, which is heavily polluted. In the past, they were also found in Lake Chalco (about 16 km away from Lake Xochimilco), but it was drained to reduce the flooding risk in the area.
Aquarium or Tank
Though classified as amphibians, they live their whole lives underwater. Therefore, you need to set up the habitat according to the needs of your newcomer axolotl friend by getting an aquarium. For a single adult pet, about 20 gallons of space should suffice. If it is juvenile, go for 10 gallons. However, if you have more than one axolotl, you will need to multiply the space with their number but keep their age in mind.
Caution!Juvenile axolotls are cannibalistic. If you have more than one axolotl in your tank, make separate enclosures for each because the larger axolotls tend to eat the smaller ones.
A new 20-gallon aquarium costs about $80 to $120. Nevertheless, if you are going to buy it from a yard sale, you can expect to find one for as low as $20 only.
A budget item comes with built-in lightning and filtration system for just the price of an aquarium. With a 20-gallon capacity, it is a good option for your axolotl.
Filters are an important part of aquariums. They keep the water clean and free of impurities that may harm axolotl health. Hence, it is a good idea to invest in a quality filtration system to keep your pet healthy. If you get the above-listed Marina Aquarium, you will not have to spend money on filters as it comes with filters as well as led lights.
However, if you already have a tank and just need a filter, you can find such products easily in the market, with a price ranging between $30 and $50. But on Chewy, you can get it for less than $20.
It catches debris and waste with activated carbon, which also maintains a good odor and color of the water.
Water Cooling Machine
Axolotls need about 16 to 18 degrees Celsius water temperature to stay healthy. A temperature above 22 is considered to be dangerous. This temperature may be found in lakes, but it is not naturally present in homes. That is why some kind of a cooling mechanism becomes an absolute necessity for your pet’s well-being.
Though you can cool down your tank through various methods, investing in coolers is the most reliable and easy one. A cooling machine will cost you over $120.
Quite and reliable aquarium chiller to keep the water in a small aquarium of your axolotl cool.
Besides the vital items listed above, you might be interested in getting your pet axolotl the following items just to make the aquarium resemble its natural habitat:
- Substrate: Substrates make a tank look like a natural landscape. Besides, it also works as a holder for different artificial plants. If you decide to place the substrate in your axolotl’s aquarium, make sure that it is either sand or large rocks, never medium-sized gravel, as axolotls tend to ingest gravel, which could cause impaction. Depending on what you decide to use as an axolotl substrate, it would cost you around $10 to $15.
- Hiding Area: Axolotls may often need to have some privacy. So, you should place a few hiding areas in your axolotl’s aquarium. The hides should be made of soft and synthetic material. It can cost up to $20. Note that axolotls typically love hiding under plants. So, instead of getting hides, you can just place small plants in your axolotl’s aquarium.
- Water Dechlorinator: It is used to get rid of harmful chemicals in the water. A single bottle of it is priced between $10 and $15.
- Water Tester: It is a device used to gauge the pH of the water and the nitrate and ammonia levels. Axolotls can do well in pH ranging from 6.5 to 8.0. However, a high level of ammonia and nitrate can be fatal for them. Water testers cost up to $20.
- Lightning: Typically, there is no need for lightning. However, if you go for it, choose LED bars and hang them atop the aquarium, but do not make them too bright. They can cost up to $50.
Did You Know?One reason why lightning may be unnecessary for axolotls is the fact that they do not have eyelids that close to prevent light rays from entering the eyes.
Axolotls are not at all expensive when it comes to feeding them. They are carnivorous and feed on insects, worms, and crustaceans like shrimps. Moreover, they do not eat more than three times a week. Further relief on your pocket is brought by the fact that juvenile axolotls eat more than the adult ones, meaning thereby that your pet will have a decreased appetite as he grows older. Thus, a fair estimate stands at no more than $20 a month in terms of food.
Aside from the regular food, getting special treats for your axolotl can increase the feeding cost:
- Cooked shrimps ($6to $12)
- Prawns ($30 per pound)
- Lean chicken ($9 per pound)
- Lean beef ($10 per pound)
- Tuna ($30 per six pounds)
Luckily, axolotls do not need any extra nutrition to be given as supplements. Hence, a regular diet can suffice the needs.
Even if your axolotl stays fit and healthy all the time, it is still better to get it checked regularly by a vet to know if there is an underlying health issue brewing inside the body. A checkup on a yearly basis is, thus, recommended. You can expect its charges to fall in the range of $40 to $100. Nevertheless, if any illness is diagnosed, you must get ready to spend more.
In addition to the expenses described above, the following costs may or may not occur during the lifetime of your axolotl:
The tank might need a replacement for several reasons. For instance, cracks may appear, or you might find it to be increasingly less in space as your pet matures. In such situations, you may have to pay up to $120 again.
You might need to renovate the tank for various reasons, either to give it a more stylish look or to change the old, worn-out accessories to avoid any bad impact on your axolotl’s health. An average estimate of doing so is around $50.
As already discussed, you will have to spend an extra amount of money on your axolotl if some kind of medical complication pops up. There are, unfortunately, some issues quite common in axolotls. These include:
- Amputations: Due to their cannibalistic tendencies, you might often find the limbs of some of your axolotls eaten by others. But there is nothing to worry about: thanks to the regeneration capabilities of axolotls, their lost body parts grow back within 40 days. Nonetheless, if you find some sort of aberration in the process of regrowth, it is better to get your pet(s) checked, which could be costly.
- Impaction: It occurs when axolotls eat something indigestible or too big for their digestive system to handle. Consequently, the intestinal pathways get blocked. In pets, it usually occurs when they eat small pebbles from the substrate of the aquarium. Impaction may also occur due to the ingestion of a large piece of food and due to constipation. However, in the case of pebble, you should immediately seek medical attention. A vet will, most probably, go for a surgery that can cost a few hundred dollars.
- Infection: Mycosis is a common fungal infection that affects the gills or the skin in axolotls. The main culprit behind this occurrence is decomposed food waste that leads to fungal growth. Fortunately, saltwater baths can help get rid of it. Just mix three tablespoons of salt in a quarter glass of water and apply it to the infected area of your axolotl twice a day for 10 minutes. This procedure will only cost you a few tablespoons of salt.
Holy Grail of Regeneration!Axolotls can easily regrow their body parts, be it a limb or the spinal cord. They even have an enormous cell-regenerating prowess which makes them a thousand times more resilient to cancer than other mammals.
Factors Affecting Axolotl Cost
As pointed out earlier, axolotl cost may vary depending upon several factors. These include:
This is the most important factor determining an axolotl’s true value since some varieties are extremely rare as compared to the rest and hence hold a hefty price tag. For example, the piebald variation, which is somewhat exotic, may cost above $100 in terms of price as compared to the basic morphs that are way below it.
Grown-up axolotls are costlier than juvenile ones because the former is friendlier and easy to care for. They eat less and behave maturely. Age, hence, becomes a pivotal factor.
The same breeder may sell different axolotls of the same variety and age group for different prices. It is mainly because of health. Healthy ones are more energetic and lead to reduced vet costs as compared to the unhealthy ones, thus bearing more cost.
Lastly, the breeder’s reputation and brand value play an important role in deciding the final price of pretty much any pet. The better the reputation of the breeder, the higher the cost of the axolotl.
Cost-Effective Tips for Axolotl Owners
Thanks to their low-maintenance nature, owning an axolotl is not too costly. Nonetheless, you can further reduce the costs discussed above by doing the followings:
- Bulk Buying: It is better to purchase more than one axolotl at a time. Doing so will be cheaper than purchasing only one.
- Regular Cleaning of Aquarium: If cleaned regularly, you can increase the life of your aquarium accessories by two years.
- Do It Yourself: You can make the substrate and hideouts yourself provided you have enough material available. However, you must keep health considerations in mind.
- Regular Monitoring: Prevention is better than cure. Regularly check your axolotl and its environment to make sure that it has not developed any health issues. If you suspect any signs of sickness, seek medical help before it worsens further.
- Buy From a Reputable Breeder: Additionally, make sure that you buy your pet only from reputable sellers. When looking for an axolotl, do check for its health condition, history, age, and other visible anomalies, if any. This can save you hundreds of dollars in terms of medical expenses.
Are Axolotls Good Pets?
Axolotls are somewhat exotic and pleasing pets. Furthermore, they do not cost much and are easy to maintain. You might not be able to hold your axolotl, but you can get vicarious pleasure by just watching it swim around in its aquarium! So, yes, axolotls are good pets.
Are Axolotls Noisy?
Though not all, some axolotls may make squeaking and gulping noises as they breathe. There is no other sound that they make. If your axolotl does not make any noise at all, it is perfectly fine.
Are Axolotls Harmful?
Axolotls are not harmful to human beings. The only con is that they may cause the transmission of some bacteria and parasites. However, they are detrimental to aquatic creatures and even other axolotls.
Do Axolotls Hate Human Beings?
No. Though axolotls are not social animals, it does not mean that they have an adverse attitude towards us. However, they might enjoy the company of their own better.
Which Pets Are Similar to Axolotls?
Belonging to the family of Ambystomatide, newts and salamanders are closely relatable to axolotls. Famous salamander pets include tiger and fire salamanders. Likewise, famous newt pets include fire belly and eastern newts.
Do Axolotls Reproduce Sexually or Asexually?
Axolotls reproduce sexually since both male and female axolotls take part in the process. The male deposits his sperm capsule, which is picked up by the female through her cloaca.
Is the Cost Worth Having Axolotl as a Pet?
Considering the low purchasing and maintenance costs besides having desirable looks, yes, the cost is worth having axolotls pet.
How Much Do Axolotls Cost? The Bottom Line
The costs you might incur in owning an axolotl have been given in detail above. However, a realistic scenario cost can be broken down as follows:
|Water Cooling Machine
Based on that, though the pet itself might not cost you much, the essential accessories can take the price up to around $350. Furthermore, if you add extra décor or monitoring systems, it can go further higher.