I have been seeing far too many injuries lately brought on from well meaning people using tweezers and tongs to feed their babies. Sadly, most, if not all, of these beloved pets don't make it as a result. So, in response, I thought it past time to bring these dangers to light.
An axolotl is a vacuum eater and ambush hunter. When it senses movement near its mouth it will strick quick and hard to grasp its prey before it gets away. This makes them fun to hand feed and its tempting to put the food right in their vicinity to coax them to strike and grab. However, they are also derpy and strike at just about anything if they are hungry, not just food. This includes whatever you might be using to hold their food near their heads. I have seen people use metal tongs, tweezers, bamboo, plastic syringes, etc. Most of the time this works well and you both go on your way happy with the interaction. However, if the axolotl happens to strike the impliment instead of the food, there is a very real and present danger of it damaging the inside of its mouth and throat. You wouldn't see the damage right away, the baby would probably still eat, and you would go off unaware of the time bomb that was just released. Because now there is a wound inside the axolotls mouth...and what often happens to an open wound? It can develop a fungal infection. When its in a hidden spot, you don't notice it right away and treat it, you don't see it until its swollen and enflamed and the axolotl is nearly dead. The fungal infection has filled its mouth and throat, nearly choking it, and its immune system is compromised, leaving it open to bacterial infections. By the time you see the damage its hard to treat and too far gone.
There's a chance if caught early enough to treat like any other fungal infection, salt baths, etc. If its already developed into a bacterial infection, you can try antibiotics, I like Furan2. The best recommendation is a vet visit of course, but I know many people around the world don't have that option.
Even better option is to stop feeding with implements! If we have healthy happy axolotls lets do everything we can to keep them that way. Please stop using sharp pointy metal and wood to shove food at your babies, for their own safety. If you want to watch them snap at the food, drop it down by their heads...I like to get mine to catch the soft sinking pellets. Its fun, safe, and a nice treat.
We all want them to live the best longest life possible. I would love to see no more swollen mouths and throats and grieving parents. Thanks, Shawn.