As a zoophilist and hobbyist, I am not supportive of the fact that axolotls should be eaten, and I will be willingly skipping any chance that comes by.

As cute as they are, it was quite surprising to me when I heard some people talking about the delicate flavors of an axolotl while I was at an international food festival. It is quite difficult to imagine these adorable, goofy little creatures being coveted as dinner.

It is indeed true. Axolotls are considered a gourmet delicacy in many different countries. In terms of taste, they are quite close to white fish such as halibut, and the preparations follow closely to that of a fish as well.

Have I piqued your interest? In this article, I have compiled all the details I learned for you during my investigation into whether axolotls can be eaten.

Can You Eat An Axolotl

Is it Legal to Eat Axolotls?

Before diving into culinary aspects, it is paramount to address the legal framework surrounding these creatures.

Country/RegionLegal StatusSpecific Law/Regulation
United StatesProtectedEndangered Species Act
European UnionProtectedEU Wildlife Trade Regulations
Overview of International and Local Laws Regarding Axolotls

Axolotls are listed as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In many countries, including the United States and members of the European Union, it is illegal to trade, harm, or kill axolotls for consumption due to their protected status.

In Mexico, their native country, axolotls are protected under the Mexican law NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010, which prohibits their capture from the wild.

Penalties for Consuming or Trading Axolotl Meat

Violating these laws can result in severe penalties. For instance, in the United States, illegal trading of endangered species can result in fines up to $50,000 and imprisonment for up to one year. In Mexico, penalties include fines equivalent to 50 to 50,000 times the minimum wage and imprisonment for one to nine years.

Which countries eat Axolotls?

Upon my analysis, I actually learned that axolotls were a favorite food of Mexicans that lived near lake Xochimilco. They had a special preparation for axolotls, where they coated a whole axolotl in cornmeal and then deep-fried it. This preparation was known as “axolotl tamales,” and Mexicans still fancy this dish as of today.

These are also found in many restaurants in Asia, specially in Japan. Some restaurants in China, Thailand, and Vietnam also offer axolotl dishes sometimes. In these restaurants, they offer deep-fried axolotls with many different garnishes. However, it is quite rare to find and can be highly priced.

Which countries eat
Image Credit: flokitheaxolotl, Instagram

What do Axolotls taste like?

Although I have no personal experience (not that I would be willing to) in eating an axolotl, I have gained some insight on this out of my own curiosity.

There is not a lot of information on the internet about the taste of an axolotl. I have come across only a few people describing the taste. One person has compared its taste to that of an eel, while another has compared it to that of a halibut. I can only assume it tastes like something similar to a white fish.

The fact that axolotls are almost always served deep fried also solidifies my theory. Fish and Chips, one of the most famous dishes in the world, is also a piece of white fish battered and deep fried, and served with french fries. As a home cook with moderate experience, I can only imagine how similar these two can taste, despite not having the chance to eat an axolotl yet.

Even though the preparation is simple, an axolotl dish is always going to be expensive because of the scarce availability of the creature.

What do Axolotls taste like
Image Credit: axo.fam, Instagram

What are the Ethical Implications of Eating Axolotls?

Beyond legality, the ethics of consuming such a critically endangered and scientifically valuable species are complex.

Eating an axolotl is not just illegal; it is widely regarded as unethical due to the species’ critical role in its ecosystem and its status as a symbol of Mexican cultural heritage.

Axolotls are a cornerstone species for regenerative medicine research due to their unique ability to regenerate limbs. Consuming this species could potentially slow or halt critical medical advancements.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Can you eat Axolotls raw?

Since axolotls are similar to white fish, it is not recommended to eat them raw. Eating a raw axolotl bears the risk of containing parasites and may cause food poisoning.

Are Axolotls poisonous?

The body of an axolotl is not known to bear any harmful toxins at all. So no, they are not poisonous.

Wrapping Up

There are two sides to every coin, and there are two groups in every debate as well. Although the majority of people would be against having an axolotl as food, some really enjoy eating it for their dinner as a gourmet delicacy.

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