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Digital Subscriptions > Vegan Life > October 2019 > Animal in focus Axolotl

Animal in focus Axolotl

We take a look at the peculiar amphibian

It might be classed as one, but the axolotl differs greatly to most salamanders — unlike other varieties, it has the rare trait of keeping its larval features after maturity and into its adult life. In this ‘neotenic’ state, the axolotl retains its tadpole-like dorsal fin, which runs along the length of its body. They also keep their feathery external gills, which stick out from the back of their wide heads. Typically, these amphibians grow up to 12 inches long (although larger ones have been found) and weigh between 2.11 and 8 ounces. Most of the species are mottled brown or black, however, albino varieties are also common, especially among captive species. In the wild, these strange looking creatures have an average lifespan of between 10-15 years. They are found exclusively in the lake complex of Xochimilco near Mexico City, and as one of Mexico’s national symbols, are well loved by citizens. According to ancient Mexican legend, this ‘water monster’ was once a god who disguised himself as a salamander, in order to hide and avoid being made to sacrifice himself.

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About Vegan Life

The year is flying by, but when things are moving at breakneck speed, it’s important to stop and take stock. This month’s interview with the brilliant Lucy Watson gave me cause to pause — when talking to Lucy about her hopes for veganism in the future, she replied, “I hope vegans will start being kinder to one another, we are in this for the same reasons and trying to ‘out vegan’ one another just isn’t productive.” Every day on social media we see vegans tearing into other vegans — emotions run high when you’re deeply passionate about something, but is this actually helpful to the cause? We are all after the same future — one where animal welfare is as important as our own — but, surely in-fighting in the vegan community is counterintuitive. We all need to think before we post, comment or reprimand, before we send that email or write the letter. Would that passion and fire be better spent elsewhere? Should we be channelling our energy into helping non-vegans make better choices, instead of attacking our own? It’s something to think about. There are some terrible crises happening across our Earth currently, and it is a very frightening time. I really enjoyed Fat Gay Vegan’s insightful piece this month — he discusses how bringing people’s attention to veganism with environmental issues is a great start, but that we shouldn’t forget to explain about how animal exploitation is a crucial part of the conversation still. Check out his guidance on p30. Enjoy the issue,

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