|Student Assa-Noura Kamara (12) and axolotl|
They may only be a few centimetres long as yet, but the 40 surviving offspring of Axel and Lady Gaga represent a delightful surprise and a logistical challenge to the science department of Lewisham’s Prendergast Ladywell School.
The search is now on for good homes for the brood of axolotls: a species of extraordinary amphibian stuck in the midst of metamorphosis into land-based salamanders and resembling, when fully-grown, large, legged, near-transparent tadpoles with exquisite coral-like gills. For now they remain the darlings of the school and a wonderful asset in science lessons.
“Alex and his girl-friend Lady Gaga were, as usual, staying with me over a recent half-term holiday, and one second their tank was clear and the next it was full of eggs,” says Prendergast Ladywell School senior science technician Nev Kazim. “Happily, a large number of the eggs were fertilised and we now have quite a substantial population.”
|BC remains neutral on the subject of how best to train your axolotl|
A regular crew of students give up time at breaks and after school to keep an eye on the creatures and feed them. “I think they are beautiful,” said Olivia Butter (12) from Bellingham. “I come in most days to see them and I enjoy feeding them blood-worms.” Her enthusiasm is shared by classmate Assa-Noura Kamara (12) from Catford. “I would love to have one – they seem quite easy to look after, but they get very interested in you when they spot you and think you are going to feed them. Before I came to the school, I did not know such a thing existed.”
It is hoped that any publicity the creatures receive, will also prove an opportunity to advertise the need for good homes for Alex and Lady Gaga’s offspring. “Anyone who is interested in homing one of our babies will have to come and collect them with a small plastic watertight container and I will advise on their care and ask new owners to send me regular progress reports – they need a tank with not-too vigorous water filters, “ says Nev.
If you're interested in giving a home to an axolotl, call Nev Kazim - Prendergast Ladywell School senior science technician: 0208 613 7444