Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Peter Pans of the Animal Kingdom

This is an axolotl. It's not only the cutest animal on Earth (aside from the beluga whale), it's also one of the strangest. Axolotls can only be found in one tiny corner of the planet--the lakes on which Mexico City was built. (That's right--the original Aztec city was built on artificial islands in the middle of Lake Texcoco. More on that in a later post.)

Technically, these creatures never (OK, rarely) grow up. The Peter Pans of the animal kingdom, they're actually the larva of a salamander species, and they can live for ten years without turning into adults.

As you might expect (cause they're so cute), axolotls are popular pets in Japan, where they're called Wooper Roopers. In Mexico, they're considered a tasty dish, and you can purchase them at markets throughout Mexico City.

(Below: The Aztec lake city of Tenochtitlan.)


Anonymous Kad said...

Aww he is so cute!


10:49 AM  
Blogger Spring said...


OT: I'm reading a REALLY great book. "The Alchemist: The secrets of the immortal Nicholas Flamel". It's seriously one of the best books I've read. READ IT PEOPLE! LOL.

11:43 AM  
Blogger International Mastermind said...

Awww...I wonder how the Japanese people feel about the Mexicans eating habits...

4:00 PM  
Anonymous SAME ANANYMOUS said...

awwwwwwwwww thats so cute

5:16 PM  
Blogger ookamishinzui said...

The Alchemist, huh? What's it about?
Ithought that the book would be like a non-fiction book, is it?
Ane the axolotl is cute, but to me its also really weird (sorry, it's ME who's the weird one)

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want one!!!!!!!

7:12 PM  
Blogger Ariana said...

I want one too!!!!!!!!!

10:14 PM  
Blogger Kitty said...

It's soo cute!! Mee three!! I want one as a pet!! o(^-^)o

10:38 PM  
Anonymous sffh said...

Me four! My uncle lives in Japan but I bet he doesn't have one, he's a buisnessman.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Patsee said...

How could someone eat something so adorable (ie these things, chickens, et cetera) ? That'd be like the... I don't know... Portugeuse eating parakeets, for us.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG!! Sooooooooooo cute! I want one as a pet too! CAn you get them in America I wonder?

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Alexxis said...

Kad: on a previous post you reccomended Lily B, read it a while a go, it was really good!
Spring: I've also read the Alchemyst, it was really interesting..
Another one that I reccomend: the Percy Jackson and the Olymipians series, its SO GOOD! the fourth one is coming out in May.
ookamish(...): the Alchemyst in fantasy-fiction with some famous historical people playing characters in them (including John Dee, the personal consultant to Queen Elizabeth I and a magician)
PS Sorry about this humongous post

2:38 PM  
Blogger ookamishinzui said...

I read Percy Jackson! I think that the author is comming to my school (I heard tthat he was coming, but I'm not sure)
Anways I just finnished readding Peeps, it SO GOOD it actually reminds me alot of Kiki Strike, except with vampire like people, it also tells you alot about parasites(it's by Scott Westerfeld, he wrote the Uglies trilogy which now has a 4th book! called Extras! YAY! I read the Uglies trilogy too)
and sory for the big post too

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Hazel said...

Me five!

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Raph said...

UWAAAHHH. o.o I OWN an axolotl. xD They're really cheap in Australia. I can post a picture if you like. ^^

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Raph said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to say: you can actually turn them into adults by adding iodine to the water. Doing this causes a chemical reaction... which makes them into salamanders.
Though I'm never going to do that. xD

4:46 PM  
Anonymous ananka said...

RAPH: So good you're back! I was wondering where you'd been! I'm glad to hear you didn't die of boredom. And you have an axolotl?!?!?!? YES you must post a picture--or send one to me so I can post it.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Bionic Beauty said...

Very interesting post. I had never heard of these critters and now I have a new research project. Thanks! :) And good photo, Raph, on the other post.

6:52 PM  
Blogger Jen Hill said...

Axolotls are so incredible. I just asked all my family to come into the computer room and take a look at the picture.

My 8 year old asked if they could be pets, and clearly they can be. Our family pet is a Bearded Dragon. Many thanks for sharing!

9:15 PM  

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