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Willow The Axolotl

The best pet I’ve ever had

By Jordyn GoolsbyPublished 7 years ago 4 min read

In late 2015 I adopted an axolotl. I was so excited to get my new baby but I was nervous at the same time. You might not know what an axolotl is so let me explain. An axolotl is salamander that is native to Mexico, it has a very distinct look because it has four legs and external gills. They can get to be a good size (they can get up to 12in in length). They can also regenerate limbs and parts of their head which I think is awesome! Willow is very special to me and I wanted to share his story with the world. This is the story of Willow the axolotl, the best pet I’ve ever had.

Once I got my axolotl I was instantly excited and happy, he was so cute! He was about one month old and his limbs weren’t fully developed yet, he just had cute little nubs. The first thing I noticed about him was he always looked happy, he always looked like he was smiling so big and looked so content. His gills reminded me of a weeping willow tree (My favorite tree) this is why I named him Willow, the name suited him really well. Willow and I were the best of friends, I would play with him everyday and we both loved it. If you know anything about axolotls (By the end of this article I’m sure you will) you’d know that they are aquatic; to answer your next question, yes, I would stick my hand in the tank and literally pet and hold Willow and we both loved every second of it.

I’ll never forget the first time I cleaned out the tank. That was a mess and a half! I decided to take Willow out of the tank in order to clean it better, I also was worried I’d suck him up with the vacuum contraption thing I had to clean the tank with. I quickly realized that I was too afraid to pick him up and put him into a holding tank! When I was about to pull him out of the water he kept jumping out of my hands and swimming away from me – it freaked me out! Axolotls have a slime coat on them so it just felt like a slimy little thing slipping between your fingers; it was a gross feeling. Needless to say.... I cleaned around Willow that day, and no, the vacuum contraption thingy didn’t suck him up thankfully.

Axolotls eat earthworms, for me that wasn’t too much of an issue, worms never bothered me. I can handle them no problem..or so I thought! I quickly realized that the worms were way too big for Willow to eat so I HAD TO CUT THEM INTO SMALL PEICES!!! Cutting up that worm made me feel like a murderer and I almost cried the first few times I had to do that. Worms secrete a slimy substance so they can slip away when under attack so that was hard. They always slipped out of my grasp, over time though, I got the hang of it. At the end of the day it was so worth knowing that Willow was happy and had a full belly.

Willow was also Instagram famous! When I say that I use the term “Instagram Famous” Very loosely. I made an Instagram to document Willows life with the occasional appearance of my other aquatic pets. (@Fish.Friends is the handle if you want to go check it out, the page is inactive) I posted pictures and videos of Willow for my friends and other aquarist to see and had so much fun doing it! The page had a decent amount of followers, 261 to be exact! I didn’t really care about how many people followed Willows page, I just wanted to have fun and show people what an axolotl is and how much fun they are and together me and Willow in my opinion accomplished that.

Sadly on the evening of July 31, 2016 Willow passed away. I had him for a little under a year. It was so sudden, I was shocked, he died due to a spike of ammonia in the tank. He was using the restroom inside his decor and I didn’t think to clean inside of them and the waste built up causing ammonia to form in the water and ultimately taking my Willow’s life. I was crushed, I thought of Willow as my child and losing him was really hard. After he passed the thought of having another pet literally made me sick, how could I just replace him? He was too special for me to do that. I slowly started to feel like my hobby was becoming a chore and before I knew it I honestly didn’t want the fish I still had anymore. I’ve since tried to get back into fish keeping but without Willow it’s not the same.

This might sound extremely cheesy, but Willow taught me a lot. He taught me responsibility, how to be a good axolotl dad, and that us humans can form these special bonds with our pets. Bonds that even after we lose our pets our bond still cannot be broken. I will forever miss Willow but I am so grateful that we were able to share the brief time he had together.

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About the Creator

Jordyn Goolsby

Just having fun and writing about things that are fun and different! Hope you enjoy my articles

My Instagram: JordynG45

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    Jordyn GoolsbyWritten by Jordyn Goolsby

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