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Our Very Own Gremlin: The Axolotl

Updated on February 25, 2014

Cute, but even that hasn't saved the Axolotl

Hey, Xochi, call home!
Hey, Xochi, call home!

Is that ET or a Gremlin?

Friends who urge me to write more on the wierd and less known creatures which share our starship, Earth, have encouraged me to visit Lakes Xochimilco and Chalco, found in Central Mexico. (You did, all five of you).

Here lives a strange creature - actually one of the Salamander family - named the Axolotl, although unlike most salamanders it does not use metamorphosis approaching adulthood into taking on the ability to air-breath. Those familiar with Mexican legends will realize that Xolotl, a top Aztec god, fearing that his followers were 'taking heart,' ahem, and planning to sacrifice him, threw himself into one of the lakes, transmogrifying himself into the enigmatic mite we see today.

The Axolotl, (the name is from the Nahuatl language)l is blessed with some formidible physical assets. Not only can it regenerate limbs lost in predation, such as its legs and tail, it amazes scientists with its ability to regenerate heart and brain cells as well.

Although only remotely fish-like, locals sometimes know the Axolotl as the Mexican Walking Fish.

Unfortunately, the Axolotl is still threatened as in ancient times by quackery that allows it to be captured, dried and ground down into patent medicines for one lunacy or another. So are so many of the world's irreplaceable creatures being driven into extinction today. Sadly, in the wild, one of its lakes, Chalco, has been drained and a search in Xochimilco late last year could not find one individual over a three-month period, perhaps due to the introduction and proliferation of several non-native stock, like the voracious Asian Carp. CITES still has it listed as critically endagered (IUCN also), they may be a mite late in its true state of extinct in the wild.

Due to its extraordinary abilities, it is also used in legitimate scientific research and bred extensively in captivity to this end. Many are kept as pets (not to be confused with the N. American "Mud Puppies," a seperate species with some similarities).

Along with human stupidity, the creature has its habitat threatened by shrinking lake water used to supply Mexico City, etc., and increased pollution.

The only fact in its favor today is the corpse is not used as currency as it was in Aztec times. The gremlin look-alike might be thankful for small mercies in a country that regards most animal rights as a nonsense (turtles, whales and butterflies excepted). When half the population is out of work and hungry; all available water sources are seized by the 25 million strong capital, the well being of a small lake dweller comes last on the list.

Plans have been mentioned to reintroduce the Axolotl into other fresh water bodies from captive stock. Some little hope for the species...


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    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 3 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      What a charming and wonderful little creature. I'm sending positive thoughts for its survival.

    • diogenes profile image
      Author

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Silva: I thank you from this and all the creatures under threat from man

      Bob

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 3 years ago from Southern Georgia

      You got me on this one, Bob! I've never heard of this wonderful creature and hope it will be noticed more and protected in the future. Very interesting to a fellow animal lover!

      Randy

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Maybe it could teach us a thing or two about regenerating our own organs so we won't need transplants.

    • diogenes profile image
      Author

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Randy: Only just found it myself. It may be too late to protect it as the jury is out as to whether it has disappeared altogether...we loose so many species every year. Bob

    • diogenes profile image
      Author

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Yeah Will. I wish it would teach me how to regenerate one certain organ! Bob

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      The rate of species extinction is scary. We will, of course, destroy all life as we know it, including our own. Stupid humans.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Heard about these little guys when I was studying about Mexico. Dinosaurs were still roaming the earth then so they were safe.

      Very interesting hub.

    • diogenes profile image
      Author

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Too true, Star. As it is, the quality of life today makes life hardly worth while I think

      Bob

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 3 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Well, we are well on the way to destroying this planet. Perhaps my granddaughters will move to one of these planets. From ABC News, "Scientists on Wednesday (2-26-14) confirmed discovery of a whopping 715 new planets orbiting stars other than our own sun, nearly doubling the number of these so-called "exoplanets" on the books." (Four of them are in the "habitable zone."

    • diogenes profile image
      Author

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Silva: If only...if mankind could unite in space exploration instead of being involved in petty disputes over what is left of this tiny planet, we might be able to find another home before it's too late. Take a couple of Axolotls with us...

      Thanks for visit

      Bob

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 3 years ago

      Hi Diogenes, at first look I thought it was a Cartoon...But as I read your thought provoking Hub, I realized I was in for a Wonderful, Educational treat. Thanks for sharing this sweet little creature, and some of the misfortunes that has come to them. I will now pass it along.

    • diogenes profile image
      Author

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Thanks for warming comment b Malin

      Bob

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Alas, it is always something. Animals are always sacrificial. Thanks for the knowledge and attempt at helping these little guys.

    • diogenes profile image
      Author

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      The barbaric acts by the Chinese and their procurers against horned animals and great apes, etc., in Africa fill me with horror and disgust. I thoroughly detest this overpopulated nation and their insane desire for homeopathic medicine to address their perceived sexual inadequacy, etc., I wish they could be biologically castrated somehow. Any large herbivore will only be found in zoos soon.

      Bob

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 3 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      “The awful wrongs and sufferings forced upon the innocent, faithful animal race, form the blackest chapter in the whole world’s history.”

      -Edward Augustus Freeman

    • diogenes profile image
      Author

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Amen to that!

      Bob

    • stricktlydating profile image

      StricktlyDating 3 years ago from Australia

      Have kept these gorgeous creatures as pets for years, love them! They are gorgeous, especially fun to feed and cute...But also known to somehow escape their tank and go walkabout! While I was asleep one night my dear "Puppy" found its way to the other side of the house, quite a walk and I searched my house for ages and could not find him. He had found his way into a shoe box, found only due to his tail peeking out. He was an albino, almost transparent, similar to the photo you have on the page. They are in most pet shops here in Australia, usually black or white. Unfortunately my "Puppy" only lasted a few days after his long walk.

    • diogenes profile image
      Author

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Very interesting comment Strictly..

      Bob (PS I just lost the large comment I made to you and didn't have the heart to rewrite it...doesn't that make you mad, damn computers)

      Bob

    • profile image

      Ramesh 3 years ago

      Fantastic blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring wrtiers? I'm hoping to start my own site soon but I'm a little lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I'm completely confused .. Any ideas? Thanks a lot!

    • diogenes profile image
      Author

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      I recommend this site: Hubpages. You can publish on here and get paid for it, although it's not much money for most.

      Good luck

      Bob

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Surly you know Sir, that humans will not be happy until they've destroyed everything on this planet including themselves, for the almighty dollar.

      I don't believe Xolotl was preserved in a physical form, although he may now be on death row. ;)

      Going to post this on FB and share it on HP.

    • profile image

      diogenes 2 years ago

      Yep, true dat, dawg!

      I can't be bothered writing again...it's all useless R xoox

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      What an interesting little critter the Axolotl is. I had no idea these existed, and I hope that they will not become extinct.

    • diogenes profile image
      Author

      diogenes 2 years ago from UK and Mexico

      It will! Along with all the other wondrous forms subject to man's true bestiality.

      Thanks for comment

      Bob

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