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Toothless, the Larval Salamander

Toothless is our living example of what larval Tiger Salamanders would look like. They are actually not Tiger Salamanders at all, but a very similar species of salamander called the Axolotl. This type of salamander is originally from Mexico and is close to extinction in the wild.

The Axolotl does very well in captivity and is used in research since it has the ability to grow or “regenerate” new body parts. For example, a young axolotl that loses a foot will usually grow it back over a period of a few weeks. Entire limbs can be regenerated and even portions of the brain and spine.

Another amazing thing about this salamander is that it never grows up! It goes through some inside changes, but it continues to look like a larval salamander its entire life. For this reason, it is sometimes called the “Peter Pan” salamander.

The axolotl is carnivorous, consuming small prey such as worms, insects, and small fish in the wild. Axolotls locate food by smell, and will snap at any potential meal, sucking the food into their stomachs with vacuum force.  

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