This is my favourite excerpt from her speech: "I feel strongly that the Axolotl is lacking the support that it deserves. Tigers, rhinos, pandas all of those animals have loads and loads of support and advertising and I think to myself well Axolotl are much cooler creatures than tigers, rhinos and pandas. Tigers may be fierce but they wouldn’t make very good pets. They would try to eat you half the time. And pandas may be cuddly but they’re not helping science and the well being of humans like the axolotl. Rhinos don’t have the ability to breathe through their skin and they don’t have gills. Although, they do have ability of destroying things though, if that’s what you want."
I also sent an email in to the QI Elves regarding 'lotls!
"My email is referring to one of your older episodes, specifically regarding Axolotls; it's just a quick couple of things, little errors in the information given on this animal - nothing to worry about mind!
Firstly, being that whilst axolotl do indeed have shockingly good regenerative powers, they do still scar however it's not always easy to see. After six months, it's also quite unusual for an axolotl to regenerate a whole limb. I was very lucky with one of my axolotls, Spyyk - he lost an arm in an accidental fight with his old tankmate (he stood on the food that Benny wanted to eat) and has grown it back. It's a lot smaller and has heavy scarring on the upper half but it's fully functional, if slightly wonky! It IS common to find young axolotl with multiple limbs though - one damaged but not fallen off will reheal - and a new one will also grow alongside it.
Secondly, whilst they do belong to the Tiger Salamander complex, they're actually Mole Salamanders, but not worth quibbling as they're in the same family.
Thirdly, not all axolotl can fully morph into adults, even with iodine injections. It is cruel and very painful to force them - not only that, but an "adult" salamander's lifespan is literally halved by the process. Many people try to force them to morph by subjecting them to poor living conditions, which sadly kills the majority of them.
I just thought you might be interested as these animals are fascinating! I've often helped out on Caudata.org, and I run two rather scruffy axolotl homepages: www.spyyk.blogspot.com and www.spyyk2.blogspot.com.
I also wondered, what would be the best way of acquiring Stephen Fry's autograph? My family and I hold both him and your wonderful show in high esteem - we try not to miss a single episode and catch up on Dave! (The QI books made brilliant Christmas presents too - thank you. My partner has gone off on a rave review in the background about the first book - "That's the best bit, it's FUN information.")
Yours sincerely. "
I'll let you know if the Elves of QI get back to me!