Friday, October 19, 2012

Cute and Dumb

We have two axolotls, Kraken and 'Thulu. I call them our little river monsters.

This is our tank setup: two caves, a fake plant, and an aerator.

I suspect that Kraken is the dumber of the two. Partly because we used to have a lovely medium-brown sand covering the bottom of the tank, and Kraken said to herself, "Sand?! That looks delicious!" and ate it until she was constipated.

How do you treat a constipated axolotl? By putting her in a plastic container in the refrigerator until she has farted out all of the sand. Seriously.

That process took about two weeks, and no sooner did I put her back, when she said to herself, "Sand?! This looks delicious!" and ate it until she was constipated again.

I put her back in the fridge and took out all the sand. Now we have two healthy axolotls and a five-gallon bucket of sand.

She also does unexpected things.

She's not stuck, just resting. It's somewhat startling because it looks as though a cartoon fish monster has climbed a tree.

They're both pretty dumb when it comes to food, though. Axolotls are very bad at eating. We feed them pellets (a little too small to hand-feed comfortably, but we do our best), freeze-dried cubes of threadworms, and small squares of frozen red worms. I will have a piece of food between my thumb and forefinger and they'll try to eat my wrist. Or the side of my finger. Or the palm of my hand. Or anywhere that isn't the food itself.

Technically they have teeth, or little nubs that serve as teeth, but axolotl bites just feel like a thwip! It's not painful in the least, and they have no fear of hands, so feeding time is just hilarious. We have also discovered that cleaning up uneaten worms is a lot easier when the furniture is taken out first.

Pardon the sudden stop of the music at the end of these videos, I'm not investing the time to make them smooth.

My favorite part of this video is at :30 when Kraken is really excited about eating pellets from my fingers, but forgets to swim with her tail and just windmills all four legs.

I read on a forum that a guy fed his axy cubes like these, but if he didn't squeeze the air out, it would float to the surface and ride around on the current until it burped out bubbles. So we had to try it.

Lookin' for food in all the wrong places...

Then, in the ultimate display of their intelligence, Kraken ate bubbles and Thulu had a very short high-speed chase with the only object in the tank.

I'm pretty sure they only survive in the wild by accident.

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