Weekend Google Doodle salutes the axolotl

May 21 (UPI) -- This weekend's Google Doodle is a colorful game in which users identify axolotls and learn fun facts about this species of salamander that only lives in the water.

Players will learn that these amphibians, who are native to Mexico, do not have eyelids so they sleep with their eyes open, and can breathe in or out of the water.


They also live up to 15 years, never lose their baby larva attributes and can regenerate their limbs.

These animals also have the ability to change their colors to blend into their environments.

Axolotls were placed on the critically endangered species list in 2008.

The Doodle by artist Helen Leroux is intended to celebrate Lake Xochimilco, a natural lake near Mexico City, which is the last remaining native habitat for axolotls in the world. It is also a popular destination for rowing and kayaking.

"The lake was once home to the ancient Aztec civilization during the 15th century, and eventually landowners in the colonial period took over occupation of the lake," Google said on its website Saturday.

"On this day in 1920, the Mexican government returned Lake Xochimilco back to the locals. Lake Xochimilco now serves as a recreational site, cultural attraction, and home to the rare axolotl species," the statement added.


"Due to Lake Xochimilco's unique landscape, local farmers adopted the ancient chinampa farming method, which involves artificial floating gardens. These chinamperos (or farmers) grow hundreds of different aquatic plants, from common vegetables to medicinal herbs, in the nutrient-rich soil."

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