I had no idea what this animal was, but the image of it is everywhere in Mexico city. Well, apparently it lives in the lakes surrounding Mexico City, including Lake Xochimilco - a beautiful spot. Highly recommend visiting and taking a boat ride! Go for sunset!!
The wild axolotl is racing towards extinction. A 2003 study in Xochimilco by the Mexican Academy of Sciences found an average of 6,000 axolotls for each sq km; the latest survey, in 2015, has that number down to 36.
The loss of the axolotl is traumatic for Mexico City: the creature is vital not only to its ecosystem but also to its imagination. Murals and graffiti depicting the animal are ubiquitous: in fact, an axolotl recently won a contest for an emoji to represent the city.
The fascination extends beyond Mexico’s borders. Roger Bartra – a Mexican anthropologist who has drawn parallels between Mexicans and the axolotl – recently
of axolotl-inspired texts by Julio Cortázar, Aldous Huxley, Primo Levi, Giorgio Agamben and Octavio Paz.
What has enthralled authors and biologists around the world is the fact that, unlike its relatives, the axolotl does not metamorphise into a full-grown salamander; it lives in an eternal amphibian “childhood”, refusing to grow up.
This city is amazing - it feels like something out of a fairy tale. There are markets on the weekends (Saturdays) and an incredible hike to a monastery on the top of the mountain (closed due to covid, hike still worth it!). Tepoztlan is about 3 hours outside of Mexico City and it is 100% worth the trip.
The hike is the reason to go here. You are hiking up a staircase in the middle of the rainforest. Bring pesos - people sell frozen fruit pops on the way up. I can’t stress enough how cool this place is.