If you’re the proud owner of an axolotl, you’re you already know they require special attention, especially when it comes to their diet.
As you explore feeding options, you might be considering the robust nightcrawler (or large earthworm), a common worm found across North America and Europe.
Are nightcrawlers a suitable treat for your axolotl?
How often and how much should they be fed?
Dive into this article, as we delve into whether nightcrawlers are a good choice for your axie and provide insights on feeding guidelines, suggestions and recommendations.
Can Axolotls Eat Nightcrawlers?
Axolotls can eat nightcrawlers. Nightcrawlers are a nutritious food option for axolotls, providing essential proteins and minerals. However, ensure the nightcrawlers are sourced from safe environments free of chemicals or harmful bacteria and are appropriately sized for your axolotl to prevent choking.
What Are Nightcrawlers?
Nightcrawlers, scientifically known as Lumbricus terrestris, are large earthworms commonly found in North America and Europe. They thrive in moist, rich soils, often surfacing during the evening or after rainfall.
Benefits of Nightcrawlers for Axolotls
Nightcrawlers stand out as an excellent food choice for axolotls, largely due to their rich nutritional profile.
Here are the primary benefits they bring:
Nightcrawlers Offer A Good Source of Protein
Protein is essential for the growth and tissue repair of axolotls.
Nightcrawlers, being a meaty food source, supply a significant amount of this vital nutrient, supporting healthy development throughout an axolotl’s life.
Nightcrawlers Are Low in Fat
Nightcrawlers are low in fat, ensuring that axolotls get the nutrients they need without unnecessary caloric intake, which could lead to obesity or other health issues.
Nightcrawlers Provide Essential Minerals
Beyond protein, nightcrawlers provide a variety of minerals critical for axolotl health.
Calcium, in particular, is abundant in nightcrawlers.
This mineral is crucial for bone development and maintenance, ensuring axolotls have strong, healthy skeletal structures.
Nightcrawlers Are Easily Digestible For Axolotls
The soft, malleable body of nightcrawlers allows axolotls to digest them with ease.
This prevents potential digestive complications that might arise from harder or more fibrous food items.
Natural Behavior Stimulation
Hunting and feeding on live prey, like nightcrawlers, can stimulate the natural predatory behaviors of axolotls, promoting mental stimulation and overall well-being.
Nightcrawlers Can Provide Hydration
Being moisture-rich, nightcrawlers also help in hydrating axolotls, which is crucial given their aquatic nature.
Possible Risks or Considerations When Feeding Nightcrawlers To Axolotls
Feeding axolotls nightcrawlers is generally beneficial, but there are certain considerations you will need to be aware of, should you attempt to feed them:
Size of the Nightcrawler
While nightcrawlers are a nutritious food choice, their size can pose a risk for younger or smaller axolotls.
If a nightcrawler is too large, it might become a choking hazard or induce stress during consumption. T
o prevent this, one can cut the nightcrawler into smaller, more manageable pieces before feeding.
Not all nightcrawlers are equal.
Those sourced from contaminated environments or areas treated with pesticides can carry harmful chemicals or bacteria.
It’s essential to acquire nightcrawlers from reputable sources to ensure they’re free of contaminants.
If collecting them yourself, make sure they’re from areas free of chemical treatments.
Axolotls, like any creature, can be overfed. Overfeeding not only leads to obesity but can also affect water quality, leading to an unhealthy habitat.
Nightcrawlers are hearty and nutrient-rich, so you don’t need to feed them in large quantities.
Depending on the axolotl’s size, one or two appropriately-sized portions a few times a week should suffice.
Always monitor your axolotl’s appetite and adjust feeding schedules accordingly.
Axolotl Nightcrawler Feeding Guidelines
Proper Portion Sizes
- Juvenile Axolotls: For younger axolotls, a nightcrawler should be cut into small, bite-sized portions to ensure easy consumption without choking. Typically, a quarter or half of a nightcrawler is sufficient per feeding.
- Adult Axolotls: Fully-grown axolotls can usually manage a whole nightcrawler. However, if the worm is particularly large, consider cutting it in half.
Preparing Nightcrawlers for Feeding
- Washing: Before feeding nightcrawlers to your axolotl, it’s crucial to rinse them under cool, clean water. This helps remove any potential contaminants or dirt from their skin.
- Cutting: Use a clean, sharp pair of scissors or a knife to cut the nightcrawler into the desired portions. Ensure the tool is cleaned beforehand to avoid introducing contaminants.
- Storing: If you buy nightcrawlers in bulk, they can be stored in the refrigerator for freshness. However, always bring them to room temperature before feeding to avoid shocking your axolotl with cold food.
Frequency of Feeding
- Juvenile Axolotls: Due to their rapid growth, younger axolotls have a higher metabolic rate. Feed them smaller portions of nightcrawler daily or every other day.
- Adult Axolotls: Mature axolotls don’t require daily feeding of nightcrawlers. Offering them this treat 2-3 times a week is adequate. Monitor their appetite and adjust accordingly.
Alternative Worms To Nightcrawlers To Feed Your Axolotl
- Description: These are small, red worms typically found in freshwater environments.
- Comparison: Bloodworms are rich in protein and loved by axolotls, especially juveniles. However, they’re not as substantial as nightcrawlers, making them more of a treat or supplementary food. Regularly feeding only bloodworms may result in a lack of some essential nutrients.
- Description: Small, segmented worms that thrive in freshwater habitats.
- Comparison: Blackworms are a good protein source and are especially suited for younger axolotls due to their size. However, like bloodworms, they’re less meaty than nightcrawlers and best used as a supplementary food.
- Description: These are small, thread-like worms often found in freshwater.
- Comparison: Tubifex worms are protein-packed, but their small size means axolotls need to consume more for full satiation. There’s also a contamination risk with tubifex, so ensure they’re sourced from clean, reputable sources.
- Description: Small, whitish worms cultured for fish food.
- Comparison: White worms are fatty, making them a tasty treat for axolotls but not an everyday food. They can be an occasional supplement to diversify the diet and provide extra calories.
- Description: Often used as fishing bait, these worms are a bit smaller than nightcrawlers.
- Comparison: Dendrobaena worms are nutritious with a good protein and mineral profile. They’re a suitable alternative to nightcrawlers, especially for medium-sized axolotls.
Nightcrawlers stand out as one of the most nutritious and safe worm options to feed yoir axolotl.
Rich in protein and essential minerals, they can support healthy growth and the well-being of your aquatic amphibian.
While there are many worm varieties to consider, nightcrawlers consistently rank among the best, ensuring a balanced diet and promoting natural predatory behaviors.
With appropriate sourcing and portion control, you can confidently incorporate nightcrawlers into your axie’s dietary regimen.
How many Nightcrawlers should an axolotl eat?
An adult axolotl can eat one whole nightcrawler 2-3 times a week. Juvenile axolotls should be given smaller, bite-sized portions of a nightcrawler daily or every other day. Adjust based on individual appetite and size.
Why won’t my axolotl eat nightcrawlers?
Several reasons can deter an axolotl from eating nightcrawlers: stress, illness, environmental factors, or simply personal preference. Ensuring optimal tank conditions and monitoring health can help address potential feeding issues.
Can axolotls choke on worms?
Axolotls can choke on worms, especially if the worm is too large or not properly prepared. It’s essential to offer appropriately sized portions to prevent choking and ensure safe consumption.
Related Axolotl feeding guides you may want to read:
- Can Axolotls Eat Red Wigglers? [You’ll Be Glad You Checked]
- Can Axolotls Eat Hornworms? [What You Must Know]
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.