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#89 Axolotl

Critically Endangered

The Axolotl can live up to 15 years, and get up to a foot long, though they usually only grow to about 6 or 7 inches. They used to live in 2 lakes in Mexico, but one was drained to prevent flooding. The remaining lake is now barely more than a bunch of canals. There are 2 kinds of fish that were introduced as well, which eat the axolotl young. Unfortunately, humans still hunt them for food as well. There are some measures in place to help them, but I'm not sure there is much hope. They are a popular pet, so unlikely to go entirely extinct. I'm undecided how I feel about the animals that are common pets but vanishing in the wild. I am glad they will still exist, but captivity is never as good as living where they should.

I love and hate swimming. I've already mentioned how fish like to attack me, and I've been chased by a swimming spider, so lakes and the ocean are out. The thing is, I have bad eyes so swimming with friends in a pool was never much fun either. I'd get in the water (couldn't afford prescription goggles) and would end up losing track of who I was there with which was rather stressful for a shy timid person. Everyone is a weird blur when you are swimming with a lot of strangers. I also got a taste of what drowning would be like at one point too. I was standing in the shallow end trying to figure out which blur was my friend when with a huge thump I was pinned to the floor of the pool and my breath was knocked out of me. A very large man had jumped into the pool right on top of me, knocking the wind out of me. He was probably around 350 pounds and I was about 100-115 pounds at the time (I was maybe 13 years old, I honestly don't know how much I weighed but I was not overweight). I couldn't move, couldn't breathe, sucked in some water, and however long it took for him to decide to stand up felt like an eternity. He didn't apologize, didn't even acknowledge me, just walked away. I've been wary of public pools ever since.

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