As pets, axolotls should be fed on a regular basis to provide them with all of their required nutrition. Newborn axolotls need to be fed until their yolk sacs become too large for their size, at which point they can switch over to eating pellets instead.
Earthworms and nightcrawlers are key staples for axolotls as they provide balanced nutrition in an easily accessible form (or can even be cultured at home), while being low-in-bacteria. To ensure safety and reduce risks of blockages or choking hazards it is wise to cut these foods into smaller pieces to reduce potential choking risks.
As carnivorous scavengers in their natural environment, axolotls require a diet rich in proteins for healthy development. Their preferred food items are earthworms, bloodworms, blackworms, daphnia and brine shrimp - although you could feed them live food like earthworms too!
Lean beef or chicken are fine to give as part of their diet; however, since axolotls cannot chew their food they must fit into their small mouths before being swallowed whole.
Baby Axolotl larvae require extremely small food items like brine shrimp or daphnia to nourish their tiny mouths, with 2 or 3 meals being fed each day to meet their fast metabolisms at this stage. You can also feed them fish pellets and blackworm larvae from pet stores as an easy option.
As carnivorous scavengers, Axolotls require a diverse diet for optimal health and wellbeing. Brine shrimp (high in vitamins, lipids, and fatty acids), daphnia or even aquatic insects such as Daphnia may provide their food sources.
Axolotls possess large mouths which they use to suck in food. Their teeth are vestigial and only used to hold onto what they find inside their mouths. When their mouths open up water rushes in as soon as the axolotl opens it; anything around it such as food, other axolotls, or gravel gets swallowed by force similar to that produced by vacuum cleaners.
Daphnia reproduce asexually during their growth season and produce resting stages that can survive dryness and freezing in pond sediment. They may migrate toward or away from edges of ponds or lakes in response to phototaxis.
Axolotls are carnivores, meaning they require a diet rich in meat-based products. Because their teeth were designed for gripping rather than biting or tearing food apart, axelotls must swallow their meals whole in order to be successful at feeding on foods like worms that are too large to fit within their mouths.
In the wild, axolotls feed on crustaceans, mollusks, insect larvae and even fish. Their keen sense of smell allows them to locate prey easily beneath lakes and rivers in Mexico.
As juveniles and adults grow into juveniles and adults they should be fed with various food items such as earthworms (European nightcrawlers are ideal), blackworms, daphnia or sinking pellets - these foods should only be fed as supplements to an overall live feed diet.
Axolotls can benefit from eating shrimp as a source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals; however it should only be offered as treats rather than being the primary food source.
In the wild, axolotls are generalist predators that feed on an assortment of insects, mollusks, worms, algae and plants as well as small fish such as tadpoles and carp. Axolotls kept in captivity should consume similar diets.
Feeding an axolotl requires providing foods of an appropriate size for its mouth; larger foods could pose a choking hazard or be difficult for it to swallow. Furthermore, it is a good idea to provide your pet with a wide variety of foods such as insects and commercially available pellets and gel foods in order to ensure it gets all of the essential vitamins and nutrients it requires for good health.
Fish pellets can be an economical and healthy choice when feeding axolotls, since they remove bacteria from the water while being cheaper than live food. Unfortunately, pellet food doesn't offer as many nutritional benefits than live prey so supplement with other forms of feed as necessary - sinking pellets should also be purchased since bottom feeders axolotls could become disoriented from eating floating foods that bloat them up or cause digestive issues.
Earthworms (European nightcrawler worms) make an excellent food option for subadult and adult axolotls as they offer high amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals at a reasonable cost - as well as being easily accessible at most pet stores. Brine shrimp (frozen) also offer plenty of nutrition.