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Name our axolotl

A special guest for our exhibition 'The Book of Hopes'

Inspired by Catherine Johnson's poem "The Axolotl at Bedtime" which is included in the book that inspired our new exhibition - 'The Book of Hopes', we are delighted to welcome a very special guest to The Story Museum - our very own axolotl!

If you're wondering what an axolotl is you, click here to find out more about this fascinating creature


Help us name our axolotl

Now we need your help to find the perfect name our new team member!

The winning name will be chosen by Catherine Johnson herself, with a special prize of a family ticket to The Story Museum, a signed copy of The Book of Hopes and a £30 gift voucher for The World of Water - the UK's leading aquatic supplier.

To help get you started, poet Catherine Johnson has written a very special new poem all about finding a name for our axolotl!

Catherine johnson

Try and name our axolotl,
Go on, give it your best shotl!
Dylan, Tunde, Ola, Will,
What's the name to fit the bill?
Mexican like Juan or Frida?
Or, perhaps, you're going to need a
Better name that hits the spotl
For our frilly axolotl

Catherine Johnson

So what are you waiting for? Get your thinking cap on, and when you've got the perfect name, complete the form below to enter the competition.

Results will be announced later in the year.

Complete the form to enter

More about axolotls

Axolotls are amphibians who live underwater. They are unusual because they do not undergo metamorphosis like most other amphibians and instead spend their whole lives in a tadpole-like form.

In the wild, axolotls live in only one place - the lakes of Xochimilco in Mexico - and they are critically endangered due to the impacts of human inhabitation in nearby Mexico City.

They are named after an Aztec God called Xolotl. He was the God of fire and lightening and also of monsters. But axolotls are far from scary. Just look at his smile and pink feathery gills!

They are popular pets, have thousands of dedicated followers on social media and even feature in Minecraft. Axolotls are also used for scientific research due to their amazing regenerative ability: they can grow new limbs and internal organs in a matter of months. How’s that for a demonstration of resilience and creativity?!

You can find out more about axolotls by visiting or

Our axolotl has been donated, along with everything he needs to be happy and healthy, by World of Water in Swindon for the duration of the Book of Hopes exhibition. He is cared for by our team with advice from the knowledgeable staff at World of Water.

Common name Axolotl
Scientific name
Ambystoma mexicanum
Molluscs, worms, insect larvae, crustaceans and small fish
Average life span
10-15 years
Up to 30cm
Up to 225gsm
Favourite stories
Axolotl finds a bottle by Lesley Sims, illustrated by David Semple
Naked mole rat gets dressed by Mo Willems
Who are you calling weird? A celebration of weird and wonderful animals by Marilyn Singer

World of Water

We are extremely grateful to World of Water for loaning us our axolotl along with his tank and special equipment he needs to keep happy and healthy.

World of Water has, for many years, been the premier aquatic company in the Swindon area. Their knowledgeable and dedicated staff strive to provide their customers with the best aquatic products at the lowest prices.