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Can Axolotls Live With Turtles?

As the number of people keeping aquatic pets keeps increasing with each year that goes by, the number of questions that we see asking if you are able to keep different species of aquatic pet in the same tank seems to increase too.

Although a large number of aquatic pets can often be kept together without issue, some of them are definitely best kept apart and this is what we are going to be taking a look at in today’s article.

Over the last three to four months we have noticed a spike in the number of people reaching out and asking if axolotls can live with turtles or not.

The number of people reaching out seems to increase with each month that goes by too so we have decided to publish our own dedicated article on keeping axolotls with turtles in the hope that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible.

We have also added our table of contents below so you are able to get to specific sections of our article that primarily focus on slightly different topics. This is due to seeing a number of people asking slightly different but related questions that we also wanted to include in this article.

Can Axolotls Live With Turtles?

We would never recommend that you try to keep an axolotl in the same tank as a turtle due to axolotls being delicate and many turtle species being aggressive.

Axolotls usually tend to need colder water in their tanks than most turtle species too making it difficult to keep them in the same tank anyway.

We have a dedicated article going over popular axolotl tank mates that you are able to try with your axolotl but most people will keep their axolotl tanks for axolotls only.

This is due to axolotls being problematic to keep in tanks with other pets as they either try to eat their tank mates or their tank mates pose a threat to their external gills.

If you do want to keep your axolotl in a tank where there are potential hazards from its tank mates then you should always be sure to include plenty of axolotl hides in the tank so that it is able to easily hide when it wants.

Although axolotls are usually larger than many of the fish that may harass it, the axolotl is usually slower than the fish so it can become stressed and anxious and want somewhere to hide but even axolotl hides in your tank will not able able to protect your axolotl from a turtle.

“Axolotl Overkill” by robert.roehl is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Is There Crossover In Water Parameters For Axolotls And Turtles?

Other than the aggression of many turtle species, there are actually free turtles that can be kept in water cold enough for an axolotl to live.

The majority of the turtles that can work in colder tanks tend to be larger and very aggressive making them unsuitable for use as a tank mate for axolotls.

Many people think that because axolotls are from Mexico that they will be fine in warmer water but they really aren’t.

They are from cool water pools near Mexico City and usually need a steady water temperature of between 60-64° F (16-18° C) where as most turtle species usually require warmer water in their tanks.

Although it will depend on the specific turtle species, there are other differences in the required water parameters between some types of turtles and axolotls too.

This just makes it unpractical to even try to keep them in the same tank as each other and with the potential risk of your turtle attacking your axolotl, it is better to just keep your pets in separate tanks if possible.

Do Turtles Eat Axolotls?

Some species of turtle may try to eat your pet axolotl if they are kept in the same tank as each other even if the turtle has plenty of food available to it. Some species of turtle may just act aggressively towards your axolotl and bite it even if it is not actually trying to eat it too.

Due to axolotls having evolved in cool water pools with minimal predators, they have slow reflexes and often do things that go directly against their best odds of survival.

This could make your axolotl eat prey for some turtles or an easy target for a turtle that wants to try and assert dominance over the tank.

With your axolotl not really having any defenses against a turtle’s bite, it can easily be harmed and potentially take serious injury from a single bite, especially if the bite catches its gills, body or head.

Although axolotls are able to grow their limbs back, this does not mean that you should intentionally put your axolotl in situations where it may lose a limb.

Do Axolotls Eat Turtles?

Axolotls will usually try to eat anything that they are able to fit in their mouth even if it is not food with some axolotls ending up with large rocks or pebbles lodged in their throats.

Due to this, an axolotl may try to eat a baby turtle that is small enough to fit in the axolotl’s mouth but it will usually just leave a large turtle alone.

Unlike the axolotl, the turtle has a nice, hard shell that is able to protect it from any potential bites from axolotls too. This further reduces the chances of there being any problems from the axolotl to the turtle unless the turtle is very small or has a damaged shell.

With axolotls being so docile and passive with them often striking for stationary worms in their tank and still missing we doubt that they pose any real thread to most healthy baby turtles anyway. They can probably just outswim the axolotl and even if it does strike there is a good chance that it will end up missing anyway.


That brings our article going over if axolotls live with turtles or not to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand why you should not keep an axolotl and a turtle in the same tank as each other. You will usually want to keep them in separate tanks due to both animals usually needing different water temperatures and water parameters as well as due to the turtle often being aggressive to its tank mates.