We understand there may be a growing interest in axolotls following the inclusion of a new character in the computer game Minecraft, which might mean more shops are selling these amphibians.

To import live amphibians of the order Caudata (such as salamanders and newts) in GB the animals must be accompanied by the correct health certificates and import & export permits and be quarantined in a Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) registered appropriate establishment. FHI has informed us it has not authorised any such quarantine facilities in GB so any axolotls sold here must have been bred in this country. Axolotls are listed under CITES Appendix II so now need the relevant permits to import. Therefore we would remind all retailers to ensure they are using reputable wholesalers and they should be asking for provenance confirmation for any animals they sell.

Direct imports of these animals straight to retail shops are illegal. Whether coming in from the EU or third countries, all axolotl imports must comply with the legal requirements – which include having the relevant health certificates, CITES import/export permits as well as quarantining in specialist facilities with the various options on testing or heat treatments before they can be released for sale. These quarantine rules have been in place since 2018 to prevent the spread of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal).

Find out more about what’s involved here. It is very important that our industry plays its part in combating this potential disease threat.