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Amazing animals

Axolotl and 4 other creatures that can grow back body parts

Published on September 04, 2021 | Last Updated April 05, 2022
an axolotl in the water
An axolotl.

Did you know that there are some living things that regenerate parts of their body? Humans can't, but some creatures can re-grow their limbs or tails or even their brains!

Sometimes, animals even cast off a part of their body on purpose. They might feel threatened, and they can re-grow it later — this is called autotomy.

Check out some of the animals that have this awesome ability!


the strange looking white axolotl on the sandy bottom of the water


The axolotl (say "ax-oh-lot-el") is a Mexican species of salamander. It's also known as a Mexican walking fish.

It can regenerate, repair or replace its arms, legs, tail, lower jaw, brain and heart. What an awesome ability!

Scientists are very interested in studying how the axolotl is able to do this. Maybe one day they can use what they’ve learned to help people!

If you play video games, you might recognize the axolotl from Minecraft.

Sea stars

orange starfish in a water pond


Sea stars, or starfish, live on the bottom of the sea floor all over the world’s oceans. They are able to grow back all of their limbs if they lose any from an attack.

They can also drop or release an arm when predators grab them. Sea stars usually have five arms but some species can have up to fifty arms!


close-up of deer head with a full rack of antlers


Almost all species of male deer grow antlers. They start growing them from the time they are one year old.

They start as small spikes that they shed like baby teeth. Then they grow a larger, more branch-like rack of antlers by the time they are three years old.

Deer will continue to grow, lose and regrow larger antlers throughout their lives!


an orange bearded lizard looking right at the camera

The bearded dragon can lose its tail when it feels threatened and then grow it back. (Pixabay)

Many species of lizard can release or drop their tails when danger is near. Lizards like the green iguana and bearded dragon can do this.

When they drop their tail, it continues to wiggle and squirm. This confuses the predator while the lizard gets away!

Some lizards will even return later when it’s safe to eat their tails. For some lizards it can take a couple months for the tail to grow back.


close-up of a jumping spider


Spiders don't have a skeleton like humans do. Their skeleton is on the outside. It's called an exoskeleton

Exoskeletons don't grow. So a spider will create a newer, bigger exoskeleton as it grows. They shed the old one in a process called molting. They have to do this a lot of times until they're fully grown.

It’s during this molting that they can regrow a missing leg! The new leg will usually be a bit smaller than the other seven.

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