Thailand: Don’t buy multicoloured axolotls, warns experts

Multicoloured Mexican amphibians are Thailand’s latest trend, but experts are begging people not to buy them. Brightly coloured axolotls might be cute, but they die after just one week, according to a group of axolotl breeders in Thailand.

Axolotls are a type of critically endangered Mexican salamander popularised among the Thai youth through the game Minecraft. The animal has become a popular household pet in Thailand. Most recently, pink, blue, black, white, yellow, orange, purple and green axolotls have been spotted up for sale at places like Chatuchak market in Bangkok.

In the wild axolotls have a lifespan of 10 – 15 years. However, the chemicals used to change the axolotl’s colour kills them after just one week, according to axolotl breeder group “Axolotl Ville TH”…

“Children who are interested in axolotls, or know about them through games, please study the animal before choosing to adopt one. Multicoloured axolotls will not live longer than 1 week, so we do not encourage buying them.”

The trend is bad news for the species, which is classified as “critically endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is estimated that only 50 – 1000 axolotl are left in the wild. In Mexico, the axolotl’s habitat and population has been devastated by developments for tourism, residential housing and agricultural and industrial pollution.




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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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