Monday, February 24, 2014

The Mexican Axolotl

Many people agree with me when I am saying that the Axolotl is one of the cutest creatures smiling at us from under water! Well, many people don’t even know what this is, because the small animal is almost extinct, but once you will read something about it, you will get in love with it immediately.

The Axolotl lives only in Mexico. It is a carnivore salamander, with a cylindrical shape, which can reach dimensions of 30 centimeters, approximately. The most remarkable characteristic of this species of salamander is the fact that it looks like a larva, even when it reached maturity.

Today, the Mexican Axolotl can only be found in nature near the lakes around the capital Ciudad de Mexico. The Axolotl got its name from the old Aztecs that used to worship it. According to those, the Aztec god of Death had to hide on the bottom of the lake, when the other gods decided to kill him. He transformed himself into this creature, managing to escape.

I will try to describe this animal, although the best idea is to see the photos. It has short legs, four fingers. Usually, it has a dark color, but in captivity, it is possible to raise exemplars of the white color.

This animal only lives in two Mexican lakes, Xochimilco and Chalco, which are both situated near Mexico City. Those are a part of a complex of five lakes. The Aztecs built Mexico City on those lakes, and this is why their productivity was affected. We can say that the development of the city destroys the natural habitat of many animals, including the Axolotl. Moreover, as Mexico does not have such a good legislation to protect the animals, it is expected for this species to be extinct completely pretty soon.

The lakes are known for their “floating gardens”, which are also called “chinampas”. Those are portions of ground situated between the draining channels, which are cultivated by locals with vegetables and flowers to sell in the market. The Axolotl also lives in those channels, and other portions of lake that are still intact. It is possible for those to adapt in other areas of the world, but it was not tried. In captivity, it is raised as a pet, because it looks absolutely cute. Even if it looks like a larva, it is still popular amongst Mexicans.

Unfortunately, it is also used for laboratory experiments, which is a shame. We don’t agree with using hamsters for experiments, but those are just as good as the Axolotl. In the rhythm of disappearance, we expect for this animal to disappear in less than 20 years, which is a shame, considering that it has been living here for million years.

Some American societies showed interest to protect it, but they always have to fight with the lack of interest of local authorities, and with the indifference of the locals. We need to pull the alarm lever about this species, which is threatened like many others today.

Some cute pics Mexican  Axolotl :

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