The Mexican walking fish, or axolotl, is one of the most bizarre creatures. And there's a lot more than just its appearance that's strange, not the least of which is its ability to regrow limbs.
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The Mexican walking fish isn't actually a fish, it's a salamander. They're also closely related to frogs and other amphibians. They share many of the same characteristics, including a three-chambered heart.
Telling the age of a Mexican walking fish can be something of a challenge. They begin life looking a bit like a tadpole; even as adults, they never truly grow out of the larvae stage and never adapt to life on land like other amphibians.
Looking at a group of Mexican walking fish can be like looking at a rainbow. They can be a number of different colours, from pale pink, gold, almost any shade of grey, or brown, black, albino or cream. They can also be multicoloured, called piebald or harlequin.
Tourists in Mexico City will see the Mexican walking fish's native habitat--the waterways around the city. They are also native to the freshwater lakes around the city, and the destruction and human invasion of the lakes have put the fish on the endangered species list.
Counts of the Mexican walking fish in the wild are inexact, but scientists estimate that where numbers used to be more than 1,500 of the salamanders in a square mile, there are now fewer than 25.
Mexican walking fish have been successfully kept in captivity. They are well adjusted to life in tanks and are fed a meat-based diet.
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