One of the biggest questions that owners of pet axolotls ask is “Are axolotls blind?” This all comes down to the fact that axolotls have very small eyes without any discernible eyelids.
They also have a habit of bumping into the decorations in their tanks as well as having difficulty finding their food. Axolotls are actually capable of seeing, but their eyesight isn’t the primary sense they use to navigate the world around them.
Axolotls use their vision as a supplementary sense that helps their other senses “see” their world. In contrast, humans and other animals use vision as our primary way of gathering information from the world around us.
An axolotl has a special organ that allows it to detect minute movements in the water around it and that is the sense that it uses to gather information from its environment.
Albino axolotls are another big topic when it comes to discussing “are axolotls blind?”.
Albino axolotls do have worse vision than their pigmented counterparts, but the difference is not very significant as axolotls don’t use their eyesight as their primary sense. Let’s take a look at this interesting aspect of axolotl biology.
Are Axolotls Blind?
If you’ve owned pet axolotls for any length of time, you might be wondering if they can see or not. Even though your pet axolotl has a pair of eyes, it doesn’t seem to be the most graceful creature when it is trying to navigate its tank.
Axolotls have a bad habit of bumping into everything they share an aquarium with and can even struggle to find food when it’s feeding time. This creates a persistent rumor that, despite having eyes, axolotls are blind.
However, axolotls have fully functioning eyes and are perfectly capable of seeing. Axolotls can detect movement, color, and other factors about the world around them through their eyesight.
They use their eyesight to navigate to their environment as well as to find sources of food. Axolotls can even distinguish between different colors of prey in order to figure out what their next meal is going to be. It is worth pointing out that their eyesight isn’t the best.
Axolotls primarily use their eyesight to detect motion in the environment around them. This is why they have trouble hunting for food if it’s just stationary and sitting in their tank.
Most axolotl owners will feed them using a pair of tweezers so they can simulate motion and their prey allowing the axolotl to detect the food. This is also why axolotls can bump into new additions to the tank that aren’t moving such as a new log or a new plant.
Do Axolotls Have Bad Eyesight?
The question of whether or not an axolotl’s eyesight is bad can be a complicated one because it comes down to how we determine if eyesight is good or not.
If we compare the eyesight of axolotls to other animals, like humans or birds, then they definitely don’t have the best vision out there.
However, axolotls have evolved to use other sensory organs to navigate the world around them and their eyes aren’t the primary ways that they get information about their environment.
Axolotls use their eyesight to supplement another sensory organ known as the lateral line organ.
Many fish and amphibians have a special sensory organ known as a lateral line organ that runs down the length of their bodies on either side.
The lateral line organ is responsible for detecting displacement in the water around them which is how they get information about food, navigation, and whether or not there’s a predator nearby.
The lateral line organ is capable of detecting different types of motion in the water around them and axolotls can distinguish whether that motion is coming from the plant waving in the current, the source of food, a potential threat.
Even though an axolotl has worse eyesight than a lot of other animals, it’s still very sensitive to light. This is especially true for pet axolotls who are often kept in aquariums with lights overhead.
If the light shining on your axolotl is too strong, your pet could experience a lot of stress and have trouble sleeping or eating.
At the end of the day, their level of eyesight might not be the best when you compare it with other animals, but it certainly does a good enough job to keep the axolotl happy and healthy.
Can Albinos See Axolotl?
Now we need to talk about a special kind of axolotl known as an albino axolotl. These are axolotls that do not have any pigmentation in their bodies including in their eyes.
Albinism, the condition that causes these axolotls to be albino and it can also have some impacts on how well the axolotl can see. Let’s take a closer look at what it means for an axolotl’s eyesight when they don’t have any pigmentation.
The first thing we need to talk about is what makes an axolotl an albino axolotl. This is simply a genetic condition where the body of the axolotl does not produce any pigmentation.
This causes the axolotl to be white and whitish pink throughout its entire body including its eyes. The primary impact that this has on an axolotl’s vision is a slight decrease in its ability to detect light and movement.
There’s also another condition we need to talk about called leucistism. This is very similar to albinism, but these axolotls still retain pigmentation in their eyes.
While they have all the same coloration as an albino axolotl, their eyes will still have pigment. These axolotls are still fully capable of seeing and their environment like a regular axolotl would.
Axolotls might not have the best eyesight in the world, but they’re still perfectly able to hunt food and navigate their environment.
Their eyesight is primarily used to detect motion and color which helps their other senses, like those from the lateral line organs, get the information they need to get around in the world. Next time someone asks you “Are axolotls blind?” you’ll have plenty of answers to give them!