Are Axolotls Illegal?

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Some US states have relatively strict rules when it comes to pets and animal transfers, so the question that arises is whether axolotls are illegal?

Axolotls are illegal only in certain states such as California, Maine, New Jersey, and Virginia. For New Mexico, importing axolotls from other states is also illegal. In other states, owning axolotls is not illegal, but you should keep one eye on the restrictions of your county and the changes that can happen throughout the year.

So, owning an axolotl in those states where it is prohibited might be punishable by law and is therefore not recommended to keep an axolotl.

According to California law, axolotls are not prohibited because they are endangered, but rather because they pose a threat to native wildlife, as they are seen as “detrimental animals”. The law doesn’t specifically ban axolotls, but all animals from the genus of Ambystoma.

This includes a ban on all salamanders, and this includes axolotls. In other states, such as New Mexico, axolotls cannot be imported from other states. There are rigorous checks on the state borders that prevent the import of these animals. However, if you buy an axolotl from within New Mexico and you preside in the state, you should be able to own it without problems.

Are Axolotls Legal in Canada?

Yes, axolotls are perfectly legal in Canada, although it does depend; laws do change from province to province, although the general consensus is that axolotls are legal in Canada. There are some specific rules, however, that determine the legality of axolotls. Mostly, they have to do with imports and exports in and out of Canada.

In most cases, you’ll need a permit to import and export axolotls in and out of Canada. As long as you are importing and exporting within Canada, you should be fine and would not require any type of permit. If you plan on exporting and importing to and from the US, however, this is where this rule comes in.

You’ll require a CITES license, which can be obtained, but usually at relatively hefty prices. But you should still be wary where you are importing and exporting to and from, namely, which US state. Some strictly prohibit such behavior, while other permit it but only with a license.

Are Axolotls Illegal in Europe?

As for Europe, there are no direct restrictions on owning axolotls from the European Union. You’ll be able to own the pet according to the EU’s laws, but there might be certain restrictions from each individual country.

Also, shipping from abroad might be illegal in some EU countries, so it’s better to check with your country’s laws before you try to import or export axolotls from and to your country. For aspiring axolotl owners, it’s important to know that owning an animal is not punishable and is completely legal.

There are, however, some importing and exporting rules that everyone should adhere to. Failure to do so might result in various fines and it might be illegal.

Are Axolotls Illegal in Australia?

Owning an axolotl in Australia is allowed by law, although it’s punishable and prohibited to import and export axolotls. This includes importing and exporting to and from overseas, as well as from some states.

Again, here the rules will vary from state to state, but the general rule seems to be that importing and exporting from state to state is prohibited. An interesting thing is that owning axolotls is perfectly legal in some states, while owning salamanders is strictly prohibited (for example, Wester Australia.)

As for some states, there might be certain restrictions. In the Northern Territory, there are usually more strict rules when it comes to owning certain animals, although axolotls are mainly allowed. Importing and exporting is still strictly prohibited, though.

Where can You Buy Axolotls?

You can buy axolotls from a reputable seller, and you should check their accountability before you purchase. Usually, it is safe to buy from a breeder or an exotic pet dealer, as long as he is near your area. If you purchase online, you might encounter some issues, and it is not recommended for many reasons.

First, buying online is not as reliable as physical purchases, and you can easily get scammed. Secondly, there is the question of transport – how will the animal travel from overseas to your country, it might also get harmed in the process. Lastly, there are strict import and export rules in the majority of countries worldwide, so you should definitely keep an eye on that.

Mostly, the best place to buy an axolotl is from your local pet store if they have one, or in a larger pet store in a city nearby. That’s where axolotls are vetted and regularly checked, and it’s very rare that you’ll get a bad deal or an ill animal.

Can You Get a Permit to Own an Axolotl?

Yes, you can get a permit to own an axolotl, which is a must in certain states. It’s the CITES license, which allows you to possess exotic animals such as axolotls. Although you might have to dive deep into your pocket to obtain one, it’s good to know that there is an option for axolotl owners out there to own this water critter.

The reason that you need a license is because in some states, axolotls are considered an endangered species, while in other states, they are looked upon as a threat to natural environment as they are a part of the salamander family.


The answer to the question “are axolotls illegal?” is that they are illegal in some states within the US, and they are also illegal in some other countries. Mostly, though, they are allowed to own, but they are not allowed to be imported or exported.

In some cases, it would require you to get a permit before you can own an axolotl, let alone transport it to other states or countries. In any case, you should double-check with your country/state laws before you decide to own an axolotl.

Updated: September 4, 2022

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