TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword……………………………………………………….. 1
Acknowledgements…………………………………………. 4
Table of Contents…………………………………………….. 6
Chapter 1 – What is an Axolotl?…………………….. 12
Axolotls are Neotenous……………………………………. 13
Physical Characteristics of the Axolotl………………. 14
Feathered Gills and Breathing………………………….. 15
Other Forms of Respiration…………………………….. 16
Distinguishing Gender…………………………………….. 17
Determining Sexual Maturity……………………………. 17
Color Variations and Types……………………………… 18
“Wild” or Brown Shades…………………………………. 19
Albino and Golden Albino………………………………… 20
Melanoid……………………………………………………….. 20
Leucistic……………………………………………………….. 21
Copper…………………………………………………………. 21
Axolotl Biology……………………………………………….. 21
Regenerative Abilities……………………………………… 23
Chapter 2 – Keeping Pet Axolotls………………… 26
What to Know Before You Buy………………………… 27
Long Lifespan……………………………………………….. 27
Completely Aquatic………………………………………… 28
Subject to Stresses……………………………………….. 28
Questionable as a Child’s Pet…………………………. 28
Axolotls and Other Pets…………………………………. 29
Sensitive to Blockages…………………………………… 29
Required Maintenance…………………………………… 30
Raising Your Own Food…………………………………. 31
Few Veterinarian Options……………………………….. 32
Designing a Habitat……………………………………….. 33
Aquarium with Lid………………………………………….. 33
Thermometer……………………………………………….. 34
Filter and Water Flow…………………………………….. 34
Using Plants and a Hide Area………………………….. 35
Bottom Substrate…………………………………………… 36
Cycling the Tank…………………………………………….. 37
The Rudiments of Water Chemistry…………………. 37
Understanding the Nitrogen Cycle……………………. 40
Maintenance Considerations…………………………… 42
Feeding Requirements…………………………………… 42
Earthworms………………………………………………….. 43
Aquatic Blackworms………………………………………. 44
Bloodworms………………………………………………….. 45
Daphnia………………………………………………………… 45
Pellet Fish Foods…………………………………………….47
Other Food Choices………………………………………. 47
Foods to Avoid………………………………………………. 48
Hand Feeding Your Axolotl………………………………. 49
Tank Mates……………………………………………………. 51
Pros and Cons of Owning an Axolotl………………… 52
Estimated Cost of Owning an Axolotl……………….. 55
Summary: Feeding Guide……………………………….. 57
Good Food Sources……………………………………….. 57
Questionable Food Sources……………………………. 57
Foods You Can Raise at Home……………………….. 57
Chapter 3 – Axolotl Health and Breeding……….59
Water Quality is Crucial………………………………….. 59
Chlorine Poisoning…………………………………………. 60
Maintaining Water Quality………………………………… 60
Consequences of Stress…………………………………..61
Potential Treatments……………………………………….. 62
Signs of Disease……………………………………………. 65
Additional Health Conditions…………………………….. 67
Metabolic Bone Disease………………………………….. 68
Toxins or Poisons in the Water…………………………. 70
An Axolotl Vet?……………………………………………….. 72
Axolotl Breeding……………………………………………… 73
Encouraging Reproduction………………………………. 74
Hatching Axolotl Eggs……………………………………… 75
Summary: Axolotl Health………………………………….. 79
Signs of Illness………………………………………………… 79
Conditions Related to Water Quality………………….. 79
Other Common Health Conditions…………………….. 79
Chapter 4 – Axolotls and Medical Research……. 81
The Potential for Cell Regeneration……………………. 82
Is Human Cell Regeneration Possible?………………. 82
How Do Axolotls Regenerate Tissue?………………… 84
International Axolotl Research…………………………… 85
Surveying Axolotls in the Wild……………………………. 86
Fostering Retired Axolotls…………………………………. 89
Afterword………………………………………………………… 91
Appendix 1 – Overview of Tiger Salamanders… 93
Physical Characteristics…………………………………… 94
Required Habitat for Larval Stage………………………. 96
Required Habitat for Adults……………………………….. 96
Diet and Feeding……………………………………………… 98
Sensitivity to Handling………………………………………. 99
Notes on Health………………………………………………. 99
Breeding Tiger Salamanders……………………………. 100
Housing Multiple Species…………………………………. 101
Relevant Websites………………………………………….. 103
Frequently Asked Questions…………………………….. 105
Glossary………………………………………………………… 112
Selected Additional Reading…………………………….. 118
Index……………………………………………………………… 127