Posted on November 6, 2008 by

“Mexican Walking Fish” Threatened With Extinction

Ok, first of all it’s not actually a fish it’s a Salamander and they’re called Axolotls (pronounced ACK-suh-LAH-tuhl). These guys wear their gills on the outside and are able to regenerate most body parts should they become damaged or severed.

One problem is with non-native fish species like the Asian Carp and the African Tilapia that eat young Axolotls. They haven’t evolved in the same environment, so they don’t have good defense mechanisms against them.

The other big issue is habitat destruction. Lakes have been drained, and wastewater from Mexico City pollute waterways. This will not be easy to fix, but something will have to be done because these species that are threatened are just the canary in the coal mine. Bigger problems are on the horizon.

Scientists have yet to agree on a method to save these creatures, but a sanctuary is expected to open in the next few months in the waters around the Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls), apparently named such because “the owner hangs dolls he finds in the canals to ward off evil spirits.” I’m not even kidding, check out these photos of the Isla de las Muñecas.

You can get Axolotls as pets, but taking care of them doesn’t seem to be very easy. I wouldn’t recommend buying one for your teenage daughter as a replacement for her NeoPet that’s for sure!