Are Axolotls Illegal in Texas?

Written by Taiwo Victor
Published: September 15, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/izanbar
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Keeping pets is popular as we enjoy having animals around to play and connect with. There is no need to wonder why many are interested in the list of pets legal in Texas because this has long been a tradition, and people have always loved to live with animals of all kinds. However, at some point, humans grew weary of owning parrots, dogs, and cats. They began focusing on exotic, uncommon creatures that stood out, displayed their social status, and brought attention to them. The axolotl is unquestionably an unusual pet, and as a responsible Texan, you might wonder what the rules are for keeping one. So, are axolotls illegal in the Lone Star State?

Although the enormous state may have developed a reputation for doing things their way, they generally have a lenient attitude toward exotic pets. This article will dig deeper into the rules and regulations for keeping axolotls as pets and other interesting facts.

What Are Axolotls?

Coolest Animals: Axolotl
Axolotls are typically olive-tan with gold speckles; however, genetic mutations can result in color variations.

Spok83/Shutterstock.com

Although axolotls are amphibians and prefer to spend their entire lives underwater, they are frequently referred to as “Mexican walking fish.” They are the rarest species of the salamander family, and these animals are hardly ever found in the wild. Axolotls are typically olive-tan with gold speckles; however, genetic mutations can result in color variations. On top of these natural mutations, exotic pet breeders will purposefully cross-breed specific variants to develop fresh and intriguing color combinations.

Both male and female axolotls can grow up to 18 inches long, but their typical length is closer to 9 inches. They feature slender mouths that seem to be smiling, large, flattened skulls, and lidless eyes. Each has three branching gills sprouting from either side of the head, and they also carry their larval dorsal fins their entire lives. Their limbs are short and undeveloped, with long, slender digits that resemble fingers. Both males and females are easily distinguished after they reach sexual maturity. The cloaca of males enlarges and swells, and their tails normally lengthen.

Almost every component of these amazing creatures’ bodies, including their spines, internal organs, and even some portions of their brains, can regenerate if necessary. Although they are kept in captivity at zoos, labs, and breeding facilities, they also have a distinctive appearance and are particularly popular as exotic pets.

Are Axolotls Illegal in Texas?

blue speckled axolotl
In Texas, Axolotls may be kept as pets.

iStock.com/NORRIE3699

In Texas, axolotls are not illegal, and as long as the owner abides by all applicable laws and rules, an axolotl may be kept as a pet. Although axolotl ownership in Texas is not subject to legal repercussions, importing or exporting this exotic species without a license is prohibited as doing so would be against the law.

Axolotls typically have a price range. A basic, healthy axolotl costs between $30 and $75, but it will cost roughly $100 if you’re looking for something more unusual like a piebald axolotl variant. Purchase them only from trusted breeders or pet stores. It’s best to avoid ordering an axolotl on the internet or a classified ad unless you’ve spoken with the dealer directly and they can provide you enough details about the creature. It’s a warning sign if they can’t provide you with ample proof of its lineage and medical background. It’s always a great idea to chat with people who have bought animals from that seller to know if there are any issues. Additionally, a local exotic pet veterinarian frequently knows of a reliable breeder or store.

As many people have observed, axolotls are prohibited from being kept as pets in various US states, some Canadian provinces, and other places worldwide. In the United States, axolotl ownership is prohibited in California, Maine, New Jersey, and Virginia, while obtaining a permit in New Mexico and Hawaii is necessary. Owning an axolotl in Canada is forbidden in New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island, while a permit is required in Nova Scotia. Axolotls are permitted throughout Manitoba, except in Winnipeg, where they are illegal. While this may be upsetting to residents of the areas where these bans are in effect, it’s vital to keep in mind that these regulations are in place for good reasons.

Why Are Axolotls Illegal in Some Places?

Some people might think these restrictions are necessary because wild axolotls are at grave risk of extinction; however, this is not the only case. While the wild axolotl populations are in steep decline and will probably face extinction soon, the axolotls kept as pets have been completely bred for decades in captivity and are the forebears of several small colonies spanning a few different nations.

Since pet axolotls have been bred in captivity for many years, they are no longer genetically or behaviorally similar to axolotls found in the wild. Axolotls kept in captivity have been crossed with tiger salamanders, had their DNA altered, and have been bred for many generations without the influence of natural selection. As a result, they represent an altogether different species. This is a crucial factor in why releasing pet axolotls into their natural habitats will not help save the wild axolotl species from extinction.

Is it Worth Keeping Axolotls as Pets?

leucistic axolotl
Axolotls make good pets.

Meggyn Pomerleau/Shutterstock.com

Although they are delicate and require a lot of care, axolotls make great pets. In captivity, it’s fairly easy to hurt or kill them, so be ready with a good tank arrangement. Check the tank’s surroundings daily for the right temperature, cleanliness, and crushing hazards.

Due to their porous skin and extremely fragile bodies, axolotls are vulnerable to injury. The best action is to keep your distance from them whenever feasible due to their delicate nature. The resilient axolotl’s capacity for self-healing is good news, though. Yes, you read that right! Axolotls can regrow portions of the tissues in their heart, brain, eyes, tail, and limbs. It may take months to get back on their feet (pun intended), but a missing leg should grow back quickly if your pet axolotl is otherwise healthy.

Up Next:

Axolotl as a Pet: The Ultimate Guide to Caring For Your Axolotl

How Big Do Axolotls Get? 

Pet Axolotl Guide: What You Need to Know

pink pet axolotl
Axolotls have been known to engage in acts of cannibalism.
iStock.com/izanbar
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About the Author

For six years, I have worked as a professional writer and editor for books, blogs, and websites, with a particular focus on animals and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with friends.

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Sources
  1. Embora Pets, Available here: https://emborapets.com/are-axolotls-illegal-in-texas-dos-and-donts-in-texas/
  2. Reptiles, Available here: https://everythingreptilion.com/are-axolotls-illegal-in-texas-what-are-the-laws/
  3. Axolotl Central, Available here: https://www.axolotlcentral.com/post/why-are-axolotls-illegal-to-own-in-some-states-provinces