Tyler's Column

All about Axolotls


General Information

Axolotls are a species of Salamander that originally come from Lakes Xochimilco and Chalco in Mexico City, Mexico, but are now exclusively bred in captivity and virtually extinct in the wild. Axolotls live their entire lives in water in their “larval” stage and never emerge onto land.
Axolotl care requirements are minimal, and provided temperature and water flow are well controlled, they are hardy, easy-to-care-for pets that have been known to live 20+ years, commonly about 10 years on average. Remarkable creatures, often studied by scientists due to their ability to regenerate virtually any part of their body.
Axolotls have exploded in popularity due to being featured on platforms like TikTok and Minecraft. Their cute and cartoon-like appearance clearly has helped them gain this popularity.

While it is great that so many people are learning about Axolotls, it also means there is a lot of misinformation out there as well, so we made this care sheet to clear things up!


We recommend starting a baby in a tank no smaller than 10 Gallons, but a larger 20-gallon long (30”x12”x12”) aquarium is also a safe choice. As they reach their full adult size of 10+ inches, a 20 gallon long would be a minimum and a larger tank is almost always a better option. The water level should be full, or at least close to full. A glass top is recommended, as they are known to potentially jump out and a standard screen top will rust too easily.

 A filter will help maintain safe water parameters. We recommend starting a baby axolotl with a low powered sponge filter. This is necessary because axolotls will become stressed if water flow is too high and can also get stuck to the intake of a filter that is too powerful.

Water temperatures should be cool. Ideally in the low to mid 60s, but up to the low 70s is also ok. There is no need to buy an expensive aquarium chiller or anything like that. Bottled or Filtered water would be best to use, and if tap water is used, be sure to use dechlorinating drops.

 Like most amphibians, Axolotls do not want much bright light. However, if you wish to keep a low powered LED light to illuminate your aquarium, be sure to provide plenty of dark hiding places for your axolotl to escape the light. If you axolotl seems to be stressed, you’ll have to turn the light off.

We strongly advise against using loose substrate such as sand or small gravel, especially with smaller axolotls. They are bottom feeders, meaning the eat their food off the bottom of the aquarium. Using loose substrate would potentially cause impaction from the axolotl ingesting too much while eating. Larger axolotls will usually be fine, but we feel it is always safer to avoid loos substrate. This also makes it easier to clean, as loose substrate provides a chance for uneaten food and leftover waste to rot and cause an unhealthy and dirty environment.

Like most reptiles and amphibians, axolotls do best alone. Adding more than 1 does little except increase the possibility of stress and competition related problems, as well as the obvious risk that they will fight and physically harm each other.


Feeding is very simple. Most of the axolotls’ diet can be a commercial pellet food (almost any shrimp pellet, or pellet made for aquatic amphibians like clawed frogs, newts, salamanders, etc.…). They can also eat insects and worms. Younger axolotls do great with live blackworm as a treat, and mid-size to larger individuals can eat earth worms or night crawlers. Frozen blood worms are an acceptable option, but their hard chitinous shell is a bit harder to digest (for babies especially).


 Axolotls are not an animal that can be handled, think of it more as a pet fish. They can be lots of fun and very interactive as they have a great food response. The filter will take care of most of the cleaning, but regular water changes are also needed to maintain a healthy environment.


Summer tips for happy and healthy pets!

Summer 2021!
Tips for keeping your pets happy and healthy!

It is finally officially summer! This usually means good news for cold blooded animals like Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates. However, we find that a lot of cold-blooded pet owners have issues during these months, especially first time keepers. So, I figured I would write this short article on the most frequent problems we run into during the warmer months.

Here in New York, we get the extremes of every season, so most of us are used to the drastic changes. Our cold-blooded pets…not so much. In most cases, these animals are built to thrive in environments that do not change all that much, and certainly not as dramatically and frequently as they change here.

Overheating is just as dangerous (if not more) than being too cold. Therefore, it is especially important to keep a close eye on your temperatures. For example, if you keep your animal in a room that is not temperature controlled in the summer, the room temps can soar, which in turn means the temps in the tank can soar as well. 

Average “room temperature” is about 68-72 degrees, which is perfectly fine for most animal’s “cool side” and nighttime temps (Bearded Dragons, Leopard Geckos, Ball Pythons, Corn Snakes, Russian Tortoises etc..). During the summer though, rooms without AC can easily reach into the low-mid 80s or higher! This means a terrarium that usually gets a basking “hot spot” of 100, can easily start approaching 120, causing stress, aggression, hyperactivity, dehydration, diarrhea, and more.

Be sure to monitor and adjust your heating/lighting accordingly by either turning bulbs off when it gets too hot or replacing them with lower wattage bulbs. And as always, be sure your animal’s water bowl is always filled with fresh, clean water!

We are always happy to answer any specific questions you may have that were not covered here.

Thanks for reading! Hope everyone has a great summer!

-Tyler Smith

(Manager, Jungle Bob’s Reptile World)

Turtle Time

We get a ton of calls and questions about this very topic, especially this time of year. Some great info from Turtle Rescue of Long Island keep up the great work guys!

Click here to read more from the Turtle Rescue

Happy National Pet Day 2021!

Today is Nation Pet Day! A great holiday to celebrate, but for us here at Jungle Bob’s, every day is pet day! Although at our core, we are a retail “pet store”, we like to think of ourselves as more than that. I am writing this today to expand on that a bit.

My name is Tyler, and I am one of the owners here, along with my brother (Dylan) and my father (Jungle Bob). Together, we have been keeping reptiles since at least 1995 and over that time we have learned through research and trail and error, that some animals make far better pets than others.

Here at Jungle Bob’s Reptile World, we strive to educate our current and potential customers about which animals might be the right fit for them and their family. As much as we would love to sell something to everyone that walks in the door, we would much rather be up front and honest with them about what it takes to keep an animal happy and healthy for the duration of their lives, even if
that talks them out of purchasing anything. It does no good to us, the customer, and especially the animal to cut corners.

Buying a pet is a huge responsibility. It is literally taking a life into your hands. Whether it is a hermit crab, a dog, a bird, a snake, a pony or a turtle. That animal now depends on YOU to keep it alive and happy. I have personally turned down lucrative sales, simply because I felt the customer was not serious or ready for such a commitment. This ironically winds up helping in the long run, and I would love to see more shops take this approach. In this “blog” or “article” or whatever you want to all it, I will go through some of the most commonly purchased pets and discuss whether or not they make sense for the everyday person, or new pet owner.

When the average person thinks of a “pet lizard” they tend to think Iguana. Now personally, I love iguanas, but they are some of the most mistreated and neglected reptiles in the world. For decades, they have been brought into pet shops as babies. Adorable 8”-12” beautifully green lizards that are shockingly affordable (often as low as $20). However, what most pet stores failed to mention (whether it was from lack of knowledge or more concern for making a quick sale) these animals can grow to 6+feet long, live for 25+ years, and if not handled correctly can be very dangerous. Now, if you have the time, space,
knowledge, and funds to erect a giant enclosure with proper heating and lighting, and you have done extensive homework, by all mean get one! This is not the case 95% of the time though. We have taken in countless iguanas over the years that are stunted, malnourished, or in some cases even deceased prior to arrival. That led us to stop selling these animals in our stores. We still rescue and adopt them out to people who are more experienced but will no longer offer them as a “starter pet” option. Topping our list for good starter pet options are Bearded Dragons, Leopard Geckos, and Crested Geckos. There are certainly other options, but these “big 3” are by far the most popular and easy to care for.

Bearded Dragons

 “Beardies” are in a class all by themselves when it comes to friendly, hardy, and reasonably sized pet lizards. Their calm demeanor and extremely docile personality make them incredibly popular. I have personally owned many Bearded Dragons in my life and can count on 1 hand how many times I have been bit (and it was my fault every time).
They still require care and attention like any other pet but needing a 36x18” terrarium (at least) and staying 18-24” long, they make a much more reasonable pet to have in your home. Requiring a varied diet of insects and veggies, they might not be for everyone, but even the family members who are more apprehensive or nervous, wind up coming around and loving their dragon most of the time. (more info can be found on our care sheet at junglebob.com)

Leopard Geckos

Leopard Geckos have been around in the pet trade for decades. These small, hardy geckos are a good choice for people that want a lizard, but don’t want as big of a terrarium or as many heat and UVB lights as a Bearded Dragon needs. Leopard Geckos will live comfortably in a 30x12” terrarium for their whole lives! (Of course, a largerenclosure is never a bad idea!). Being a nocturnal animal, they do not need as much heat or UVB lighting as a Beardie. They are very docile and easy to handle for all ages! (more info can be found on our care sheet at junglebob.com)

Crested Geckos

“Cresties” are fairly new to the pet trade and have quickly risen to the top of the charts! These nocturnal geckos thrive with a maximum temperature of about 80 degrees, do not want or require uvb light, and can live on a fruit and protein-based paste, now available from many different brands. Adorable in appearance and small in stature, they quickly win over the hearts of their new family! (more info can be found on our care sheet at junglebob.com)

Everyone knows the stigma that is attached to snakes. They are called “deadly, man-eating, venomous, evil creatures”. While some can certainly be deadly and about 10% of the species are venomous, they are far from “evil”. Many people come into our store asking for the “biggest snake you have”. We quickly alert them to the fact that it is not wise to just buy a giant snake. For starters, most larger species are illegal to own in New York, and much like the Iguanas, are often kept improperly which leads to sick, stressed, and often deceased animals.

Ball Pythons

These reasonably sized constrictors are the most popular snake species in the world. Coming in an ever-increasing variety of patterns and colors, and being slow moving and docile, there’s not much question as to why they are so popular. Usually maxing out at 5ft long, and preferring to hide most of the time, they do not require an enormous enclosure. They also only require feeding once per week (at most!). (more info can be found on our care sheet at junglebob.com)

Corn Snakes

These ever-popular colubrid snakes are right up there with ball pythons as far as popularity, docile demeanor, and easy care. Native to the United States (southeast), these snakes are far more tolerant to temperature changes than the tropical African native ball pythons and are therefore, that much hardier. They are more active than ball pythons and reach about the same lengths while staying much thinner.Snakes are still a commitment, with Corns and Ball Pythons commonly living 20+ years!


One of the most common questions we get is some variation of
“Do you sell cheap baby turtles that stay small? I want to get one for my child.” This is not a good idea on many levels. Number 1 being that no turtle stays “small”. Most will reach a length of at least 6” and all turtles and tortoises are technically illegal to sell when they are under 4”. Yet still we see then being sold in horribly small and incorrect setups. Red Eared Sliders are the biggest victims of this. They are produced by the thousands, sold for usually under $20, and destined to live in cramped, dirty, and incorrect setups for their entire life (which can be 50+ years). This leads to most of them being either neglected,
dropped off to a rescue (like us), or released into a local pond. This has been happening so often and for so long, that they now inhabit virtually everybody of fresh water in the united states. Which is a problem, as their aggressive dominant attitude hurts the native species in the area.

There are so many that need to be “rescued” that most turtle rescue organizations cannot even take them in anymore. Last, but not least, even in the perfect setup, they are messy animals and are more likely to transmit salmonella due to the fact that there is always some level of fecal matter and/or urine in the water.

All that being said, when someone inevitably asks that turtle question, our answer is to suggest something like a Russian or Hermann’s Tortoise. These are dry, land dwelling, vegetable eating animals that will max out at about 8” long, have a life span of 30-50+ years, and are far more docile and friendly than their aquatic counterparts. Makes cleaning and maintenance much easier, being that
they are just kept on a cypress mulch bedding which is easy to scoop and dispose of. That does not mean ALL tortoises are good pets, as most get extremely large, require enormous enclosures with proper temps and lighting, and can live close to 100 years. (more info can be found on our care sheet at junglebob.com)

That was a bit more than I had planned on writing today, but hey…there is a lot to say! With proper education and assistance, owning a cold-blooded pet can be a wonderful experience for kids and adults alike. I know for me personally, what started as a hobby, turned into a passion and a career. Owning these animals and caring for them has taught me more than any classroom ever could. With all the information out there these days, it is easier than ever to find out anything you want to know about these animals, I just caution you to look in the right places. Scientific articles, articles from breeders and experienced keepers are the best way to go. You can never learn too much! Even myself and our staff are still learning new things every day!

In closing, we are always here to help and answer any questions you may have and I hope this was helpful to at least a few of you. Thank you so much!

See you at the shop!
-Tyler Smith