Can Axolotls and Turtles Live Together as Pets? Pros, Cons, and Best Practices

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Axolotls and turtles are popular pets among reptile enthusiasts. However, one common question among pet owners is whether these two species can coexist in the same tank. In this post, we’ll explore the differences between axolotls and turtles, the pros and cons of keeping them together, and best practices for successful cohabitation.

First, let’s review the basics of axolotls and turtles as pets.

Axolotls are a type of salamander that are native to Mexico. They are also known as Mexican walking fish, although they are not fish at all. Axolotls are unique in that they can regrow their limbs, which makes them a fascinating pet to observe. They require a cool water temperature and have specific dietary needs.

Turtles, on the other hand, are a popular and beloved pet reptile. There are many different species of turtles, and they have varied environmental and dietary requirements. They require a basking area, heat lamps, and clean water.

So, can axolotls and turtles live together as pets? Let’s explore the differences between these two species to determine if cohabitation is possible.

Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) - Wildtype
Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) – Wildtype

Differences between axolotls and turtles:

Before considering keeping axolotls and turtles together, it’s important to understand the differences between these two species. Here are some key differences:

  1. Habitat and environmental needs: Axolotls require a cooler water temperature of around 60-65°F, while turtles require warmer water with a basking area and heat lamps. Additionally, axolotls require hiding places and low water flow, while turtles need a larger area to bask and more water flow.
  2. Diet and feeding habits: Axolotls are carnivores and require a high-protein diet consisting of worms, insects, and small fish. Turtles are omnivores and require a varied diet consisting of both plant and animal matter.
  3. Behavior and temperament: Axolotls are generally docile and peaceful creatures that do not do well with aggressive tank mates. Turtles, on the other hand, can be territorial and may attack other tank mates.

Pros and cons of keeping axolotls and turtles together:

There are both benefits and risks associated with keeping axolotls and turtles together. Here are some pros and cons to consider:

Benefits of cohabitation:

  1. Shared tank space: Keeping axolotls and turtles together can save space and reduce the number of tanks required.
  2. Mutual entertainment: Axolotls and turtles can be interesting to observe and may provide mutual entertainment.
  3. Complementary tank-cleaning habits: Axolotls and turtles can help keep the tank clean by consuming uneaten food and debris.

Risks of cohabitation:

  1. Competition for food and resources: Axolotls and turtles have different dietary needs and may compete for food and resources, which can lead to malnutrition or starvation.
  2. Risk of disease transmission: Axolotls and turtles can carry different diseases and parasites, which can be transmitted to one another.
  3. Aggressive behavior and injury: Turtles can be aggressive towards other tank mates, including axolotls, which can lead to injury or death.
Pet Turtles
Pet Turtles

Best practices for keeping axolotls and turtles together:

If you decide to keep axolotls and turtles together, there are several best practices to follow to ensure the safety and well-being of both species:

  1. Tank size and setup: Provide a large tank with plenty of hiding places and a basking area for the turtle. The water temperature should be kept around 70°F to accommodate both species.
  2. Feeding: Provide a varied diet that meets the nutritional needs of both axolotls and turtles. You may need to feed them separately to ensure they are receiving the appropriate amount of food.
  3. Monitoring behavior: Keep a close eye on their behavior to ensure they are getting along and not displaying aggressive behavior towards each other. If you notice any signs of aggression, such as biting or chasing, separate them immediately.
  4. Quarantine new pets: If you plan on adding a new axolotl or turtle to the tank, quarantine them first to ensure they are healthy and not carrying any diseases or parasites.


In conclusion, whether axolotls and turtles can live together as pets depends on several factors, including their habitat and environmental needs, dietary requirements, and behavior. While there are benefits to cohabitation, such as shared tank space and mutual entertainment, there are also risks, such as competition for resources and aggressive behavior.

If you do decide to keep axolotls and turtles together, it’s important to follow best practices, such as providing a large tank with appropriate hiding places and feeding them a varied diet that meets their nutritional needs. By following these guidelines, you can help ensure the safety and well-being of both species.

Remember, always do your research before deciding to keep multiple species in the same tank. It’s important to understand the unique needs and requirements of each species to ensure their health and well-being.


  1. PetMD – “Can Turtles and Axolotls Live Together?” Link:
  2. ReptiFiles – “Can Axolotls Live with Turtles?” Link:
  3. Aquariadise – “Can You Keep Axolotls and Turtles Together?” Link:
Scroll to Top