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Axolotl Cannot Open Mouth!

Discussion in 'Salamanders & Newts' started by River, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. River

    River Member

    My axolotl, who use to eat with full gusto and regularly, suddenly cannot seem to open up his jaws - like he has lockjaw or something! The last thing I was able to feed him was a store bought earth worm which I hear is fine for them normally. I'm worried that he's going to die now that he can't seem to get his mouth open. I've attempted to force feed him by gently opening his mouth and using a syringe, but it was difficult and he spat most of it out. I still couldn't get his mouth open very far at all even trying to do it myself.
    He's definitely hungry, he comes up to the food in my fingers when I try to feed him and pushes against it like he really wants to eat it - he just can't! I feel awful.
    Anybody else ever have this problem?
     
  2. Pharoahound

    Pharoahound Elite Member

    I assume it's a normal axolotl, not a mudpuppies or a water dog.Can you post pictures? Do you know the age? What is the temp of the water? Do you have substrate if so what is it?
     
  3. River

    River Member

    Not using any substrate. Temperature is kept around 75 degrees and hasn't changed since the days it was "healthy". It's just a regular axolotl. Not sure how old it is but I assume a little over a year. I'll try to snap a picture when I get home.
     
  4. Pharoahound

    Pharoahound Elite Member

    You need to do a water check, make sure the water quality is high. Also temps 75 and up can be stressfull for axolotls 63-68 are about where you want to be. What size tank do you have him in, does he have any roommates?
     
  5. River

    River Member

    I'll have to do another water check ASAP but last time I checked, it was all fine. Its a 10 gallon tank and he's all alone in there. But would things like that make him unable to open his mouth? I swear it's not that he "doesn't want to" or that he's not interested in the food - he literally physically cannot open his jaws. I've almost lost hope.
     
  6. Pharoahound

    Pharoahound Elite Member

    Any of those things can cause stress and stressed animals usually don't eat. Its not that they don't want to eat they're too stressed and just won't. If you can get the water to a cooler level it might calm him down and he'll eat.
     
  7. River

    River Member

    But he comes up to the food instantly, or my fingers, like he's trying to get it. He rubs against my fingers and the food in a desperate way and won't leave it alone, and if I drop any pellets on the bottom of the tank he'll hover over them like he's attempting to get them into his mouth. I've noticed that if I leave some pellets sitting on the bottom of the tank so they start to get softer, he'll be able to suck tiny amounts through the smallest slit in his mouth.
     
  8. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Can you post a photo of the enclosure? Are you filtering the water? What type of water are you using? Are you using a water conditioner? If applicable, which brand? What are the nitrates, pH, and ammonia values for the water? How are you measuring the temperature? Are you guessing, using a thermometer, etc.? Do you have any hides in the tank?
     
  9. Pharoahound

    Pharoahound Elite Member

    Hm that's weird, do you have any vets around you that specializes in exotics? Hm it sounds like some kind of disease. I've heard of the water being too warm it hurts their skin, though 75 is not that high it might be irritating his skin making it painful when he opens his mouth?
     
  10. River

    River Member

    I thought of that... I may try adding a little colder water. I also thought maybe something to do with the earth worm I fed him? Like some sort of sticky mucus holding his mouth together? Could the worm have had a parasite even though it was from the store that would cause something like lockjaw to occur I wonder?
     
  11. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    There wouldn't be a mucus holding his jaw closed from the worm. I keep axolotls as well and if you'll answer the question above, I may be able to help you figure it out. It sounds like possibly a bacterial infection, if in fact he cannot open his mouth.

    What all are you feeding him? Photos would be really helpful. :)

    Edit: 75*F is way too high. Water temps shouldn't go above 72*F. Extended periods at higher temps are often deadly to axolotls. Also, rapidly dropping the temperature is dangerous.
     
  12. River

    River Member

    Thanks! I'll have to take a trip to the store before I can figure out all the numbers of the pH again but I'll do that as soon as I can.
     
  13. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Well in the meantime, if the water temperature is really 75*F, you can drop it slowly over hours with clean frozen water bottles.
     

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