Final Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot of the year adds axolotl from 'Caves and Cliffs Update'

Minecraft Caves and Cliffs Update Image
Minecraft Caves and Cliffs Update Image (Image credit: Mojang Studios)

What you need to know

  • Minecraft: Java Edition is the legacy PC version of Minecraft and tests new and upcoming updates through snapshots.
  • The latest, and last, snapshot of the year is 20w51a, and adds another new feature from the 'Caves and Cliffs Update.'
  • Players who install this snapshot will be able to spawn axolotl, a new neutral creature that can be very useful.
  • The 'Caves and Cliffs Update' isn't anywhere close to being done yet, and is slated for a Summer 2021 release.

2020 is (finally) wrapping up in an eventful holiday season, and companies are starting to cease work temporarily to return home. Mojang Studios wanted one last "hoorah" before dispersing for the holidays, and have released the last Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot for the year with Snapshot 20w51a. This snapshot doesn't have a huge list of new changes and features, but it does add one exciting new feature expected to be a part of the upcoming Caves and Cliffs Update that's scheduled to release sometime in Summer 2021.

For the first time, players can play with the axolotl, a new neutral mob that looks adorable, is filled with unique abilities, and can actually be extremely helpful in underwater battles if you train them properly. Axolotl aren't appearing naturally in the world yet, but players can find ways to spawn them inside the Creative crafting menu.

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The full changelog for Snapshot 20w51a includes:

New features

  • Added the axolotl!


  • Amphibious!
  • Axolotls currently love tropical fish, though this may change. Tropical fish or tropical fish buckets can be used to mate axolotls
  • Axolotls will swim around with you if you're holding a tropical fish or tropical fish bucket in one of your hands
  • When a player kills a mob that the axolotl was attacking or being attacked by, the axolotl will show its appreciation by granting the player temporary regeneration and removing any mining fatigue effects
  • You can pick up your axolotl in a water bucket and carry it around just like a salmon or cod!
  • Axolotls will always chase after squids and other types of fish
  • Axolotls are skittish, but they will attack Drowned and Guardians if you tempt them with their favorite food – tropical fish!
  • Axolotls do not like it out of the water and will dry up and begin taking damage if they are out of water for longer than 5 minutes
  • An axolotl will not dry up as long as they are in water or rain
  • Sometimes when an axolotl takes damage, it will pretend to be dead so that it stops being attacked
  • There are four common varieties and 1 rare variety of axolotl
  • Axolotls do not spawn in the world in the world yet, but you can find spawn eggs for them in the creative inventory


  • Bundles and shulker box items will now drop their items when destroyed
  • Some changes have been made to sculk sensors

Sculk sensors

  • Eating Start has been removed as an event for a few reasons
    • It is inconsistent with our philosophy around vibrations. Mining a block is not considered a vibration because a physical event hasn't happened in the world yet (you can stop mining and the block will revert). This is the same for eating: you can start eating, but then stop and the food reverts as if eating never occurred
    • It wasn't widely considered to be a useful event for players to use sculk sensors with
    • Eating Finish is staying, and will likely be much more useful to sculk sensors for this scenario
  • Walking on wool no longer causes vibrations
  • Throwing wool as an item onto the ground no longer causes vibrations
  • Sculk sensors are now silent while waterlogged

Technical changes

Added gamerule


(100 by default), which sets what percentage of players must sleep to skip the night. Setting to 0 will mean 1 player is always enough to skip the night. Setting above 100 will prevent skipping the night

Fixed bugs

  • When a crossbow is loaded and in the offhand, you do not see it anymore if you carry an item in the main hand
  • It is possible to destroy netherite items with lava by putting them inside a container
  • Cake appears eaten for a split second when putting a candle on it
  • Trying to put a candle onto a candle cake duplicates the candle
  • Placing a candle on a cake causes hunger display desync
  • Netherite can burn whilst inside of a bundle
  • Bundle inventory preview is off-center inside of the tooltip box
  • Desync when putting a candle on a cake in Survival mode
  • Nether stars can be blown up while being inside of a bundle/shulker box
  • Game stalls when any message is displayed in chat while playing with an expired session



Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.