PHOENIX (3TV / CBS 5) – It’s probably not surprising that dogs are the most in-demand pets in the United States, but the second most popular choice might surprise you. Cats seem like the obvious answer, but according to recent research from All About Cats, purring babies come third. Parrots, rabbits, turtles, guinea pigs, and snakes all made the top 10, but they don’t feature in second place. This distinction belongs to… wait… the axolotls. Yes, according to All About Cats, the adorable, smiling salamander is the second most wanted pet in the United States. All About Cats also looked at the most popular pets – other than dogs and cats – in 30 major cities. Top of the Phoenix list? The axolotl.
Nature.com describes axolotls, which are listed as critically endangered, as “the beloved amphibian of biology“The animal is named after an Aztec god.” According to legend, this “aquatic monster” was a god who disguised himself as a salamander to avoid sacrifices, ”explains National Geographic. “Today it is critically endangered in the wild due to pollution and urban sprawl that threaten its habitat in the Mexican Basin.”
While their numbers are declining in the wild, they are abundant in captivity. “The axolotl is a complete conservation paradox,” said Richard Griffiths, an ecologist at the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK. Nature.com in 2017. “Because it’s probably the most common amphibian in pet stores and laboratories around the world, and yet it’s almost extinct in the wild. “
The animal that never grows
Also known as “walking fish,” axolotls can grow up to 12 inches, live up to 15 years, and are relatively easy to care for. While most breeds of salamanders move to land and breathe with lungs rather than gills when they mature, axolotls do not. They are aquatic animals all their life. Although there are no cuddles with axolotls – they should not be handled unless absolutely necessary – Spruce Pets says “they can be a lot of fun to watch.”
“Axolotls tend to be quite daring and are perfectly happy to move around in their tank while being watched by their humans,” Dr Lianne McLeod wrote on the site last month. “Some will approach the side of their tank when a person observes them.”
Click or scroll through the slideshow below to check out the 10 most requested pets in the United States, according to All about cats.
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