Are you wondering how to use tongs to feed your pet axolotl, or which one is best?
Today's post is going to cover just that, as well as why you would want to get some in the first place.
Let's dig in!
Benefits of Using Feeding Tongs
Why would you bother getting a specific tool to feed your axolotl?
The benefits are surprisingly numerous:
- Avoid contact with food that may be unpleasant to handle (such as chopped earthworms) or irritating to the skin (especially bloodworms)
- Helps to keep hands from getting wet
- Useful for retrieving food that was missed or uneaten
- The thin prongs in some cases may be less startling to the animal than a big hand shadowing over their head
- Provides a finer, better grip than fingers only, especially for feeding slippery foods
- Maneuver around the animal's head and mouth with more agility
- Easy to make the food look like it is moving to attract their hunting instincts
- Protect soap, perfume or lotion from your hands from getting in your pet's water
It is actually quite funny when the axolotl attacks the feeding tongs so viciously that they grab on the end while you are pulling it out of the water, so entertainment could be another advantage :)
In my experience as well as in the experience of many other axolotl owners, tongs often make feeding your axolotl easier, more pleasant and a more enjoyable experience than otherwise.
Axolotls don't see very well, and having a tool to feed them can come in quite handy as you may already have found out (by your own firsthand experience).
What is the Best Pair of Feeding Tongs for Axolotls?
Whatever tongs you choose, you want them to be waterproof so they will hold up over time.
Stainless steel tongs with rounded, blunt edges are fine, such as the kind used for aquascaping.
I use these ones from this kit and me and my axies couldn't be happier.
The other tools are also fantastic to have on hand for general maintenance, especially if you have a planted tank.
To be extra safe you can eve use the feeding tongs meant for snakes and herps, which have rubber tips.
Such tips help protect the axolotl if it gets a little to excited about lunging for the prey and bumps hard into the end of the tongs.
The downside is the rubber tips can make it difficult to grip the worms.
Related Post: How to Feed an Axolotl
How to Use Tongs At Mealtimes
You can use tongs to feed practically any food you want your axolotl to eat, such as earthworms, bloodworms or pellets (if they are big enough).
For foods that do not move on their own, you can wiggle the tongs around their mouth to tickle their faces with the worms.
Tickling them around the sides of their heads by their eyes and at their nostrils seems to get their attention.
When the axolotl notices the food, he will snap at it.
If successful, he will grab it and suck it off of the tongs and cram it down the back of his throat.
If he misses, don't give up - just keep trying.
It can take some practice and training for them to learn to eat from tongs, but in the long run it will make feeding so much easier and be worth it for sure.
Usually they learn quickly that tongs mean food.
This means when they see the tongs hovering above the water, they will perk up and swim to the surface for their dinner they know is on the way.
Do Tongs Cause Mouth Injuries?
Some of the tongs with sharper edges may cause mouth injuries if the axolotl viciously tries to attack the food.
(Yes, they do that sometimes.)
This is why I never recommend using tweezers to fed your axolotl, as the sharp points can cause mouth damage.
Tongs that have squared corners are not ideal, which are often the regular reptile feeding tongs.
I would not recommend those, because if the axolotl grabs onto them at the wrong angle with too much force, they could get poked and injured.
(Trust me, these guys can be surprisingly fast and strong!)
That is, unless you somehow modify them by putting some kind of tubing or plastic coating on them so they become dull.
Damages to the mouth can result in misshapen lips and even secondary infection, so you really want to be careful about this.
Alternatives to Feeding Tongs
If you are struggling with feeding tongs for whatever reason, there are alternatives besides using your fingers.
One amazing little invention is a glass aquarium dish feeder.
It has a shoot you put the food into at the top, which then is deposited at the bottom in the glass bowl.
It makes for much cleaner feeding, without the use of tongs, by making sure food doesn't get all over the bottom of the tank and make a mess.
Axolotls are surprisingly smart and will learn eventually that the food comes from that place.
Whatever method you choose, it is important to find what works for you and your unique animal.
Using feeding tongs can be a great advantage to your daily task of feeding your pet axolotl.
I hope you found today's post useful, and maybe had some ideas for administering meals you hadn't thought of before.
Thanks for stopping by!