Underwater creatures are anything but boring, especially when it comes to the way they look. One salamander called the axolotl, which some have nicknamed the Mexican walking fish, is a pretty goofy-looking amphibian itself. It also has a not-so-secret super power: its regenerative qualities allows it to regrow limbs or body parts that have been wounded. Cool, right?

Sadly, axolotls are critically endangered in the wild, so much so that their populations are possibly extinct. That’s why many people are helping to raise them in captivity in an effort to keep this species alive.

Lucky for us, Imgur user SugarangelTwinklebee posts frequent updates on her axolotls and their growth. Not only is she just one of many who are raising awareness about the importance of these adorable amphibians, but—as her latest photos show—she’s proving just how darned cute they are!

An Imgur used named  is doing her part to help replenish the population of the critically endangered amphibian species, the axolotl. In her latest post titled, “I got a lotl babies,” SugarangelTwinklebee delivered the good news: she’d finally received a package “from a breeder which contained 31 axolotl eggs!”
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SugarangelTwinklebee said, “I set them up in a large Tupperware container with dechlorinated water and small air stone, all at room temp.” An air stone is generally a limewood or porous stone that slowly diffuses air into the water. It can be safer than air filtration systems, which typically produce large bubbles that can harm or overwhelm teeny baby axolotls like these.

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SugarangelTwinklebee’s axolotl nursery did experience some tragedy, however. She wrote, “Unfortunately I did lose six babies—one quad and some twins—to underdevelopment and then fungus… I’m super gutted about losing them as I would have LOVED the see them grow but the reason axolotls produce hundreds at a time is because not all eggs are meant to survive.”

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Thankfully, those that did survive began to grow within just a few days. The air stone allowed for them to develop their body shape properly, and soon enough, they began to grow into the amphibian we know and love for its feathery gills and wide, almost “smiling” faces.

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All 25 of the surviving axolotls were developing pretty well at that point, and they seemed to enjoy their Tupperware home. According to Axolotl.org, the amphibians actually retain their larval form for their entire lives, as they never shed their gills and fins (like tadpoles do). In a sense, it’s considered a “backward” step in evolution—but these babies didn’t seem to mind!

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She snapped this photo just five days later, when the axolotls were about a week old. She wrote, “You can really see the color morphs each baby is going to be; from this bunch it will mainly be ‘dirty’ leucistics and wilds. But just look at how cute their little eyes are!”

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She continued, “The baby furthest to the right (the darker or wild type) was super wriggly and I’m hopeful these babies will emerge any day now!” It might be hard to tell at first, but these axolotls were actually still inside their eggs! It’s amazing how big they would become before finally hatching.

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SugarangelTwinklebee already owned a couple of one-year-old axolotls, and posted pictures of them to show her viewers what the newest babies would look like. The yellowish or golden albino was named Ra, and the pale, leucistic one was Lucifer. Can you believe how much axolotls grow in just one year?

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Axolotls are an endangered species for a reason. Before the expansion of Mexico City, these amphibians could be found in the high-altitude, freshwater lakes Xochimilco and Chalco. Now, all that remains of these bodies of water are the canals that were created from the retreating Lake Xochimilco—and this had a devastating effect on axolotl populations.

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Because their habitat shrunk so drastically, axolotls are being bred in captivity in order to keep the species alive. The most amazing aspect of axolotls is their ability to regenerate body parts, which is something that scientists find very useful in studying various methods of self-healing.

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These baby axolotls are pretty cute for amphibians, aren’t they? When they get to be as old as Lucifer and Ra, SugarangelTwinklebee will surely need a much bigger space for them. In the meantime, you can follow her Imgur page for more updates on her axolotls’ growth!

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