Axolotl bit hand off of tank mate

AnimeDan

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I was checking my tank tonight and watching my smaller Axolotl named princess when i saw that she was walking weird. I then realized I couldn’t see her left front leg, and then noticed that she was holding it close to her body with the hand part missing. The only thing I can think happened is my larger Axie, Buddy, bit it off. They’ve been in the same tank for a couple months now without issue and I often see them getting along fine. I feed Buddy every day and she had her limbs when I fed them earlier and it was only a few hours between when I fed them and when I noticed the missing hand.
I know the hand will regenerate but is there anything I need/should to do to help make sure it doesn’t get infected or stress her out any further?
Below is a picture of the two of them together. Buddy is on top and princess is on the bottom.
177F3908-0EA4-4909-8D49-2AC14CD30F94.jpeg
 

EasternRomioi3

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@AnimeDan

How old are your axolotls? The light skinned one looks young. You shouldn't have two axolotls together until they're both adults. You may have to separate princess till she's full grown. That type of nipping, that predation, is common. She will regrow her hand, takes a few months though, like at least 3.

Also, what size is your tank? If it's super big, you may be able to buy a tank divider from a pet store and keep them together, just not able to get at each other. Once Princess is bigger, Buddy shouldn't be as aggressive. Though I say this, as an owner of only 1 axolotl and I am going off what others have said. Be vigilant while watching her and be vigilant on the forums, someone with multiple axolotls will surely have something to say that is more concrete than I what I said.
 

AnimeDan

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@AnimeDan

How old are your axolotls? The light skinned one looks young. You shouldn't have two axolotls together until they're both adults. You may have to separate princess till she's full grown. That type of nipping, that predation, is common. She will regrow her hand, takes a few months though, like at least 3.

Also, what size is your tank? If it's super big, you may be able to buy a tank divider from a pet store and keep them together, just not able to get at each other. Once Princess is bigger, Buddy shouldn't be as aggressive. Though I say this, as an owner of only 1 axolotl and I am going off what others have said. Be vigilant while watching her and be vigilant on the forums, someone with multiple axolotls will surely have something to say that is more concrete than I what I said.
Surprisingly, Princess is actually the older of the two at 10months old, while Buddy is about 7 months old. I made sure they were both out of the cannibalism range before putting them together. Princess has pretty much stopped growing so she’s just a tiny thing for some reason though she’s about 6in long. She just looks tiny compared to Buddy who’s just a big boy.
While my tank is large enough to put a divider at 38 gallons, both of them often walk around the entire tank and Buddy loves swimming around so It would be sad if that had to happen.
 

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There isn't really a "cannibalism range", and as illustrated, age has little to do with it. Size is what matters.

Axolotls can snap at everything that moves. I have seen axolotls try to eat plants, filters, air bubbles or their own reflections - they respond to movement.
That means that if a tank mate slowly floats past, the axolotl can snap. This isn't aggression or even cannibalism per se - it's just a reflex.

If the other axolotl is of a similar size, they're usually strong enough to get away without much damage being done.
If they are much smaller, though (or otherwise weaker), they have a harder time getting away and, yeah... might lose some pieces of axolotl.

Especially now that she's injured she will be vulnerable to it happening again. I would definitely separate them for now, at least until the leg has healed up. Try to use that time to bulk up (and grow) the smaller one, and maybe they can safely be reintroduced.

As long as she's significantly smaller she will be at risk, though.
 

AnimeDan

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Thanks for the advice! Is sad because they like to hangout together but I don’t want to risk her losing more limbs. I’ll go get a tank divider ASAP. My biggest confusion is just why now? They’ve been together for 2 months without issue. I’m gonna miss watching them stack 😢.
 

EasternRomioi3

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Oh no, Princess is the older of the two! I'm so sorry. Maybe if you get her a double dose of earth worms, she might bulk up and Buddy will be less interested in taking a chomp.
 

Murk

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Thanks for the advice! Is sad because they like to hangout together but I don’t want to risk her losing more limbs. I’ll go get a tank divider ASAP. My biggest confusion is just why now? They’ve been together for 2 months without issue. I’m gonna miss watching them stack 😢.
"Why now?" boils down to chance.

In my experience, all axolotls can snap at each other - there is always a small chance they do. As I said, if they see something moving past their head slow enough, they reflexively bite at it.
Things that lower this chance:
- Lots of hides
- Separate feeding locations
- Personality (of the axolotl)
- A large enough tank
If you have the above, it will happen less, but it will still happen.

That's not really a problem. It's a reflexive bite, usually there's not much force behind it. I see my axolotls do it sometimes, and only very rarely does it lead to small bruises on a tail or something.
However, if one axolotl is significantly smaller or weaker than the other it's much more likely do to damage.

It's an accident, accidents happen. "Why now?" doesn't really have an answer, it could have been a month ago or year later too. You can't change that, but you can change how likely it is to do damage.
Since one axolotl is smaller (and now injured), it's much more likely to do damage. I would separate until at least the injury has healed. Try feeding the smaller axolotl some more to see if she can catch up in size. Once they're closer to each other in terms of size they might not need to be separated.
 

AnimeDan

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"Why now?" boils down to chance.

In my experience, all axolotls can snap at each other - there is always a small chance they do. As I said, if they see something moving past their head slow enough, they reflexively bite at it.
Things that lower this chance:
- Lots of hides
- Separate feeding locations
- Personality (of the axolotl)
- A large enough tank
If you have the above, it will happen less, but it will still happen.

That's not really a problem. It's a reflexive bite, usually there's not much force behind it. I see my axolotls do it sometimes, and only very rarely does it lead to small bruises on a tail or something.
However, if one axolotl is significantly smaller or weaker than the other it's much more likely do to damage.

It's an accident, accidents happen. "Why now?" doesn't really have an answer, it could have been a month ago or year later too. You can't change that, but you can change how likely it is to do damage.
Since one axolotl is smaller (and now injured), it's much more likely to do damage. I would separate until at least the injury has healed. Try feeding the smaller axolotl some more to see if she can catch up in size. Once they're closer to each other in terms of size they might not need to be separated.
The two of them are in a large tank (38 gallons) and there are two hides along with plants and 2 other things in the tank that allow them to climb on and hide behind or under. When I first put them together they were about the same size, Buddy was a bit bigger but not by a ton. I think it likely stems from their respective appetites. Buddy has never left food behind when I’m feeding him, once even over eating to the point of throwing up when I gave him to much once when Princess didn’t eat her food and he ate all of her’s while I had stepped out for a minute to use the bathroom. while Princess has always had a lesser appetite, where I often have to check to make sure she finished her food and remove it if she didn’t finish it. Recently I’ve switched her from worms to Repashy Grub Pie which she seems to like a bit better so hopefully she can beef up a bit with that.
 

pinksmog

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i had that happen with mine. one day i noticed that pennywise kept missing fingers. he was the oldest but about two inches smaller than the other two adults. i ultimately had to house him alone because it kept happening. don’t know why, my lotls are fat and well fed, but it kept happening. his hand never fully developed after that-it was a bit tinier and the fingers were so short :( i’m pretty sure i know which one did it, but never had issues once i rehouse him
 
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