Axolotls aren’t poisonous. However, poor tank maintenance and stress make axolotls disease carriers. Not washing your hands after touching an axolotl and its belongings or even eating an axolotl as gourmet food poses the risk of salmonella poisoning to kids and people with weak immune systems.
Let’s now understand the reasons for salmonella poisoning in more detail.
2 Main Reasons For Axolotls To Cause Salmonella Poisoning
Axolotls don’t have any poisonous parts. However, they carry salmonella bacteria in their intestinal tract.
So axolotls can pose a threat.
Given below are the two main reasons for axolotls to cause salmonella poisoning.
1. Poor Health
If axolotls live in poor water conditions, they can become disease carriers.
When such carriers have weakened immunity due to the disease, they’re more likely to shed bacteria in their stool continuously.
This can quickly spread throughout the tank.
If you touch the tank water or any contaminated surface, you can get the bacteria on your hands.
If you then eat something, prepare food, or use your hands without washing them properly, you may ingest the bacteria and get infected with salmonella.
2. Eating Contaminated Food
Axolotl is eaten as gourmet food in certain places. This creates a risk of salmonella poisoning if the axolotl is a salmonella carrier.
In most cases, kids and older people with weak immunity have a greater risk of getting affected by salmonella poisoning.
Are Axolotls Dangerous?
Axolotls aren’t dangerous. However, they can become dangerous if they have salmonella infection and are eaten by people with a weakened immune system. Similarly, they pose a threat if people don’t wash their hands before and after touching them or their belongings.
Axolotls look scary because of their dragon and lizard-like structure.
Many people erroneously consider them aggressive and dangerous to keep at home.
Axolotls aren’t dangerous to humans unless they carry diseases that can cause illness to humans.
For example, an axolotl can carry salmonella bacteria which can cause nausea, diarrhea, and fever.
If you notice any signs of sickness in your axolotl, consult your vet immediately.
However, axolotls can be dangerous for other fish and pets in the tank.
Axolotls perceive other fish and invertebrates as their meal and will try to devour them one by one.
It’s best to keep axolotls in a separate tank to avoid any possible confrontation.
This will also ensure that your pets don’t get stressed and can live happy and healthy life.
What Are The Dangers Of Keeping Axolotls?
Axolotls are sensitive creatures, which means there are more chances of humans causing harm to them than they causing harm to humans.
However, we must take necessary precautions as they’re not entirely safe.
Given below are the dangers axolotl owners face.
Axolotls are known to bite their owners and everything that gets near them.
However, they don’t bite to show aggression; they mistake their owner’s hand for food.
If your pet axolotl bites you, don’t pull your hand immediately and avoid any abrupt movements.
Instead, wait for your pet to let go, as it will realize that your hand is not its food.
By making abrupt movements or pulling your hand immediately, you will most likely damage its teeth.
This can cause immense pain to your axolotl.
An axolotl bite won’t hurt too much and won’t cause any severe damage.
Axolotl teeth are small and rarely cause damage to the skin. However, clean and disinfect the wound immediately.
Also, allow the wound to heal by avoiding contact with the contaminated water.
This will also avoid any further biting on the same place.
2. Salmonella Poisoning
Many axolotls can be salmonella carriers.
Salmonella poisoning can be an unpleasant experience for most adults but can be fatal for people with weak immune systems, like young kids and older people.
Salmonella lives inside an axolotl’s digestive tract, getting released through its feces.
Salmonella isn’t a problem unique to axolotls; other amphibians and reptiles also carry this bacteria.
A salmonella-infected person starts feeling stomach cramps, diarrhea, pain, or fever.
However, it can become dangerous if a person with weak immunity suffers from salmonella poisoning.
To prevent such infections, maintain adequate water quality by regular tank cleaning and water change.
Also, avoid using the kitchen sink for cleaning the tank and its equipment as the bacteria can pass on to your kitchenware.
And most importantly, always wash your hands before and after touching an axolotl or its belongings.
3. Carnivorous Nature
Axolotls are carnivorous species.
They will eat small fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates that they come across in their aquarium without hesitation.
If you keep an axolotl and other fish and invertebrates in the same tank, then don’t be surprised if your fish begin to disappear from the tank.
The axolotl will devour the unsuspecting fish and other creatures.
At the same time, live fish can introduce harmful parasites into the aquarium.
These harmful parasites can be stressful for the axolotl and make it sick and weak.
An axolotl will also attack another axolotl if they are kept together.
Avoid keeping young axolotls together because axolotls are known to display cannibalistic behavior toward each other.
Also, avoid keeping a young axolotl with a fully grown adult as the young one could end up becoming a snack for the adult axolotl.
Adult axolotls can make good tankmates. So you can keep an adult male and female axolotl together.
You can also keep axolotls of the same gender to avoid offspring.
How To Stay Safe Around Axolotls?
Axolotls aren’t dangerous to humans. However, it’s essential to stay safe.
So take adequate precautions to keep yourself and your axolotl safe and happy.
Given below are a few ways to ensure your and your axolotl’s safety.
1. Provide Clean Habitat
An axolotl prefers clean water conditions and a healthy environment.
A healthy and happy axolotl is less likely to bite you than a stressed one. So make sure you get the tank setup right.
The tank size for your axolotl should be at least 15 to 20 gallons.
The tank should hold enough water to submerge the axolotl’s body completely.
An axolotl needs clean water, so test the water regularly to maintain adequate quality.
If you plan to add gravel to the tank, make sure its size is bigger than the axolotl’s head so that it doesn’t swallow the gravel.
Also, avoid using the kitchen sink for cleaning the tank as the bacteria can pass on to your kitchenware.
Tank cleaning and regular water changes will reduce salmonella bacterial infestation.
2. Be Careful While Feeding
Axolotls eat small insects in the wild, including worms, fish, larvae, and mollusks.
However, you can feed them nightcrawlers, worms, daphnia, brine shrimp, meat, and pellets in captivity.
Axolotls don’t attack you on purpose while feeding. They usually do it because they mistake your moving finger for food.
So be careful and take the necessary precautions while feeding your axolotl.
Don’t hold the food in your fingers to prevent an axolotl bite while feeding it.
Instead, drop the food inside the aquarium next to your axolotl or hold it using a pair of forceps that you use exclusively for feeding your pet.
3. Maintain Proper Hygiene
Washing hands and maintaining hygiene is necessary to protect both you and your pet axolotl.
It’s essential to understand that axolotls have sensitive skin, and the bacteria present on your hand can pose a severe problem to your pet.
It’s also more dangerous than salmonella transmission.
To protect yourself and your pet, you must avoid touching your axolotl as much as possible.
Besides, wash your hand thoroughly before touching them and then again after touching them or their belongings to avoid contaminating your house with salmonella.