Natural History

Top 10 Craziest Animal Lifestyles in North America

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Mexican Axlotl
Kevin Schafer/Corbis

4. Mexican Axolotls

Right there, in a tiny, tucked-away part of Mexico, near Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco, there dwells a spooky little creature known as the Mexican Axolotl.

You might think of these little salamander-like guys as the Peter Pans of the amphibian world.

They never grow up.

Not fully, at least. Where most animals have three or four steps of metamorphosis, the Mexican axolotl only has two. Egg and larva, they stay looking like larva for their whole lives.

It might sound like fun to stay young-looking your whole life, but as always seems to be the way in this imperfect world — there are drawbacks.

Mexican axolotls never grow eyelids. Also, they have gills and fins their entire life, even though they also have lungs. It’s as if nature could not decide whether to make them land or water creatures. So it chose both.

Another spooky aspect … axolotls are used extensively in scientific research due to their ability to regenerate limbs.

Okay, we’ll correct that. Limb regeneration is actually way more cool than it is spooky.

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