One only needs to see a salamander regrowing a lost limb to become fascinated by regeneration. However, the lack of robust axonal regeneration models for which good cellular and molecular tools exist has hampered progress in the field. Nevertheless, the nervous system has been revealed to be an excellent model to investigate regeneration. There are conspicuous differences in neuroregeneration capacity between amphibia and warm-blooded animals, as well as between the central and the peripheral nervous systems in mammals. Exploration of such discrepancies led to significant discoveries on the basic tenets of neuroregeneration in the last two decades, identifying several positive and negative regulators of axonal regeneration. Implications of these findings to the comprehension of mammalian regeneration and to the development of spinal cord injury therapies are also addressed.