The Axolotl is a very unique animal, which likely accounts for it’s popularity. It’s a descendent of the tiger salamander. Most salamanders go through a metamorphism, transitioning from being aquatic to terrestrial.
Axolots, on the other hand, are completely aquatic their entire life. It’s signature feature is feathery gills that allow it to breathe underwater. They also keep their webbed feet throughout their lives.
They do develop lungs as juveniles. Instead of living on land, they occasionally use their lungs to breathe air above the surface of the water.
If you are considering an axolotl, you may be wondering how to determine axolotl gender. It’s fairly straightforward once you know what to look for. As they mature, their bodies become more distinctive, revealing their gender.
How To Tell Your Axolotls Gender!
Males have a longer and more slender body shape than females. They also have a longer tail. However, the simplest way to determine an axolotl’s gender is by looking at their cloaca, or vent. A male’s vent will be much larger than a females.
Most animals reveal their gender at birth, or fairly early in life. Determining an axolotl’s gender, on the other hand, is an exercise in patience.
You’ll need to wait until the axoltos is at least eight to twelve months old to reliably determine their gender. This is the age when they reach sexual maturity.
You can hazard guesses when they are younger, but they are only guesses. This should be considered a fun pastime, and not a reliable determination. If you don’t know their birthdate, you can use their length instead. You should be able to sex them when they reach eight inches in length.
A male will have a slender body compared to a female. The female’s body will be rounded. Her body has adapted to make carrying eggs easier.
The males also have a longer tail. It’s thought that the males use their tails as a way to attract females. They shake their tail and lower body, dancing to entice females to mate with them.
The cloaca is found behind the back legs. The male’s cloaca will bulge on each side, and be longer than that of the female. A female cloaca will be smaller. Many females cloaca is flat against the skin, while others may have a small bump.
A female can get a “poop bump” which causes the cloaca to enlarge. If this is the case, it will be smaller after a visit to the bathroom.
Can Axolotls Change Their Gender?
It’s no surprise that people wonder if axolotls can change their gender. Some amphibians, including some salamander species, are able to do so. However, the axolotls gender is fixed from birth. It cannot change.
Axolotls are born either male or female. They simply won’t reveal their gender until they near sexual maturity. As they reach maturity, their bodies finish developing, and gender differences become apparent.
How did the myth that axolotls can change their sex begin? One reason for the myth is the sex-changing abilities of other amphibians.
Another reason is likely the long wait to determine the axolotl’s gender. Owners can easily be fooled if they attempt to sex their axolotls too early. If you believe you have a male axolotls, and it matures into a female, you could easily believe that it’s gender has changed.
Some owners wonder if the gender has changed because their axolotls aren’t breeding. Assuming they are gendered correctly, the most common cause of this is incorrect water temperature.
In the wild, axolotls breed in the spring or early summer. The water begins to warm, and the days are longer. The shift in water temperature lets them know it’s time to breed. If the water in the tank isn’t conducive to breeding, captive axolotls will not breed.
Are male or female axolotls better as pets?
In terms of personality and care, there’s little difference between male and female axololts. They are on equal footing when it comes to choosing one as a pet.
Axolotls don’t swim as fish do. Instead, they walk on the bottom of the tank. Aquarium gravel isn’t a suitable substrate, because they can swallow the pebbles.
Sand is considered the best substrate for axolotls. You should also have plenty of hiding places, including plants and large rocks.
Axolotls can be shy, particularly when they are younger. However, some have a more outgoing personality. These axolotls will happily become more active when they are being watched, seeming to perform for their owners.
They shouldn’t be handled, despite their ability to breathe air. In addition to living life in the water, their bodies are made from cartilage. This makes them fragile. They should only be handled when necessary, and care should be used when holding them.
Axolotls live an average of 10 years in captivity, but they can live for 20 years or more. When considering axolotl as a pet, it’s important to consider this commitment.
Both male and female axolotls can be kept in a tank together, with some caveats. Juvenille axolotls may fight, and even eat each other’s limbs.
Their limbs are able to regenerate, but it’s not an ideal situation. When keeping them together, be sure they have plenty of space and food.
If you house mature males and females together, you can expect them to breed. If you aren’t prepared to care for baby axolotls, you’ll need to house males and females separately. Once a female has laid eggs, remove the male from the tank. He will eat the eggs, or the recently hatched babies.
Final Thoughts on Axolotls Gender
Knowing your axolotl’s gender is useful for a variety of reasons. If you have multiple axolotls, it is essential to know their sex if you want to avoid them breeding. You must wait until they are sexually mature to determine gender. The males have a slender body and a longer tail, as well as a prominent cloaca. Females will have a rounded body, suitable for carrying eggs. Their cloaca will be smaller and can be hard to locate.