Day in, day out…
The axolotl seems to have a relatively mundane life.
It stands in one place for hours, only occasionally flicking its gills.
It relocates when it notices the owner is coming over holding a tasty worm, only to resume its former level of activity once finished.
Occasionally, some owners have an axolotl that does laps across the tank every so often.
It does not seem to do much in general.
But is this because it has nothing better to do?
Does this sound familiar?
The caring owner observes this with concern.
At some point, many axolotls wonder to themselves… could this be because they are not providing enough stimulation?
“Is my axolotl bored?” they worry.
They find themselves wondering if they need to do something to enrich the lives of their animals further.
Maybe another plant?
Some other creatures?
Rearrange the hides?
Install a TV behind the tank?
They question their ability to be a good pet owner.
We axolotl owners truly care about our pets happiness, and don’t want our pets to feel like they are locked up in a miserable prison with no purpose in life.
Today I want to look at this concern.
Can Axolotls Feel Boredom?
It is an important question for us to consider.
Now, before I say anything, I ought to say the most important thing.
And that thing is… science seems to be silent on the topic of axolotl boredom.
So it is very difficult to write an article when there are no facts to show one way or the other.
I can give you my opinion, like anyone else.
I can tell you what I think.
But without any scientific evidence… it’s all speculation, and we don’t know.
And ultimately the decision will be yours, to believe if your axolotl can be bored or not, and your opinion will likely vary from someone else’s.
Basically, we are venturing into the territory of speculation.
One of the dangers of speculation is it is easy to assume something by connecting dots when there really is no scientific reason to connect them.
(I.e., because I get bored, or my child gets bored, or my dog appears to get bored, my axolotl will also get bored.)
Simply put, it is not factual to make that assumption.
This is because the subject in question is very different, and boredom itself is also a bit subjective.
Let’s look at the definition of boredom:
“feeling weary because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one’s current activity.” – Google
Hm, weary eh?
Do axolotls feel weary from not doing anything?
Some may think so, judging from their lack of movement.
But perhaps they aren’t moving much because that is what they want to do, and they are actually perfectly content.
Perhaps not doing much is what is natural to them, and we are superimposing our ideas of what a happy life is on an animal that is far different than, say, a cat or a dog.
To help us in this question, it may be useful to consider the normal activities an axolotl has in the wild.
These would be:
These are the things axolotls do, besides whatever little silly personality quirks they show at times.
Not all axolotl owners opt to allow their animals to mate, due to the risks and responsibilities associated with that activity and its consequences.
And most people try to curb biting or nipping amongst tank mates to avoid the risk of injury and infection.
But the other activities are what axolotls do naturally, and as long as these are not deprived of in their captive life, my opinion is the animal will not be weary of their life.
Assuming an axolotl could get bored, I would say it would be because it is being deprived.
So if, however, an axolotl was not given proper places to hide from the light, or food to eat, or proper room to swim, you may be encroaching on the natural activities the animal would be used to doing if it lived in the wild, and that may be unkind and possibly lead to what may be termed “boredom.”
Some animals are not nearly as active as others, it just depends on the species.
For example, most don’t worry about a snail getting bored, when it is not given fun toys to play with, but when it is allowed to do what it does it is living a fulfilled life in its role in the world, doing the things the snail does.
Axolotls have more activities than snails, but when each animal can do what it wants to do and normally would do, I would say it is living a fulfilled life.
That is my opinion, you can take it or leave it for what you think it is worth 🙂
Normal Axolotl Activity Level
I mean, let’s face it…
… Once they reach adulthood, most of them don’t do a whole lot.
Juveniles tend to be more active, which makes sense because they have a higher demand for food because they are still growing.
Hence, they are more on the hunt for something to eat.
This is often why one owner can feel like axolotls are rather active and another owner can feel like their animal is a lazy lump – they are at different stages in life.
With many animal species, younger ones are often more active and slow down with age.
As adults, it is very normal for them to have a low activity level (i.e., sedentary) because they live in cold water and conserve their energy by waiting for the prey to come to them.
Their need for several smaller, more frequent feedings is reduced.
The low activity level of the axolotl can be seen as what makes them such a nice pet to have for people who lead busy lives.
While some dogs may start to become destructive if left to their own devices without stimulation, the axolotl appears to be content to live a simple life and not demand nearly as much from the owner.
I hope this post helps to set your mind at ease if you are worrying about your axolotl being bored.
Thanks for reading!