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32 Animals with the Longest Lifespan

Radiated tortoise
The Radiated tortoise (Astrochelys radiata), endemic of southern Madagascar. Image by pierivb via depositphotos

No friends are as faithful or endearing as our pets. Dogs and Cats are the most cherished pets around. However, every pet parent’s common concern is their shorter lifespan. Typically, an indoor cat’s average lifespan varies from 10 to 20 years, whereas a dog’s lifespan varies significantly based on the breed. However, there are also some outliers. For instance, on June 1, 2023, Rosie the cat celebrated her 32nd birthday and is thought to be the oldest cat in the UK!
But is this the only instance?
No.
There are many animals across the world that are gifted with a longer lifespan, which we will see now. But before that, don’t forget to visit the Animals Around the Globe profile page and hit ‘follow.’

1. Aldabra giant tortoise – up to 255 years

Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea) Image via Depositphotos

The Aldabra giant tortoise, which tops our list, is one of the world’s largest tortoise species. These remarkable reptiles can live for over 100 years in the wild and may exceed 200 years in captivity, making them some of the longest-lived reptiles known. Typically, they grow to about three feet long, weigh around 300 pounds, and sport a high, domed shell. As gentle herbivores, Aldabra giant tortoises spend their days basking in the sun and eating plants.

2. Naked mole-rat – up to 30 years

naked mole rat
The naked mole-rat also known as the sand puppy- Image via Depositphotos

Naked mole-rats are quite the wonder of the animal kingdom, boasting a lifespan of up to 30 years—impressively lengthy for rodents! These quirky creatures are champions in the longevity department and are fascinatingly resistant to cancer thanks to unique biological traits. Living in the stable, underground burrows of East Africa, they enjoy a controlled environment that minimizes stress and promotes long life. Plus, with their eusocial structure—like bees and ants—naked mole-rats have a complex, cooperative society where teamwork matters! Their remarkable longevity and resilience make them a favorite subject among scientists and nature enthusiasts.

3. Koi fish – up to 200 years in captivity

Koi
Koi fish. By Bernard Spragg. NZ from Christchurch, New Zealand – Koi Carp., CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55029481

Koi fish are loved for their vibrant colors and beautiful patterns, but do you know these fishes have a longer lifespan? Yes! Originating from Japan, these ornamental fish are domesticated common carp and can live up to 200 years when raised in optimal conditions. So, these fishes in Japan are passed down across generations and are considered family heirlooms. The oldest koi ever documented lived up to 226 years. Koi thrives in well-maintained ponds where the environment is stable, and stress levels are minimized. However, in domestic ponds, they typically live for 15-30 years. Water quality, pond condition, preventative health care, and proper nutritional guidance from a vet will extend the lifespan of these Japanese Koi.

4. Ocean quahog – up to 500 years (and still counting!)

Ocean quahog
Ocean quahog- Image via Depositphotos

The ocean quahog, biologically known as Arctica islandica, is a type of clam that lives in the North Atlantic and can live for a very long time. These clams often live for more than a hundred years, and the oldest one ever found, named Ming, was 507 years old. Ocean quahogs are filter feeders, which means they clean water by eating tiny particles like algae. Remarkably, they exhibit negligible senescence, meaning they show little to no signs of aging, keeping healthy even as they age. Ming’s story shows how long these clams can live, staying on the ocean floor for centuries until humans find them.

5. Geoduck clam – up to 170 years

Geoduck clam
Geoduck clam- Image via Depositphotos

Geoducks (pronounced as ‘gooey-ducks’) are giant clams from the West Coast of the U.S., living from Alaska to Baja California. They have a small shell and a very long neck, which they use to filter seawater for food and oxygen while buried deep in the sand. Geoducks grow slowly, taking up to 15 years to reach their full size of about 7 pounds, and they can live a remarkably long time, with some reaching over 165 years old. They reproduce by releasing eggs and sperm into the water, where fertilization occurs. Known for their odd appearance and tasty meat, geoducks are not only a culinary favorite but also one of the longest-living clams in the world.

6. Red sea urchins – up to 200 years

Starfish and sea urchins frozen by sea stalactite. Image by scienceexplored on Instagram.

Red Sea Urchins, small spiny invertebrates known for their striking red to burgundy colors, are one of the longest-living animals on the Earth–they can live anywhere from 100 to 200 years or even more if they are in good health. These creatures thrive in the cool waters from Northern Japan to Baja California, primarily on rocky shorelines and near kelp beds where they feed on seaweed. Red sea urchins are slow growers; it takes about 10 years to reach their full size, and they continue to grow very slowly. Despite their longevity, red sea urchins face threats from predators like sea otters and sea stars, and they are also harvested by humans for their tasty gonads, known as uni.

7. European eels – up to 50 years

European eel (Anguilla anguilla). Freshwater snake like fish
European eel – Freshwater snake like fish. Image via Depositphotos

European eels (Anguilla anguilla) are fascinating creatures with a marathon life cycle that spans across the Atlantic from the Sargasso Sea to European rivers. These snake-like fish can live up to 50 years, spending most of their time in freshwater before making the long journey back to the ocean to spawn. They’re known for their impressive ability to overcome obstacles or even temporarily leave the water to snack on slugs and worms. Unfortunately, their numbers have drastically fallen, dropping about 95% over the last 40 years due to habitat loss, pollution, and overfishing. Efforts are underway in the EU to help them survive, ensuring that a good portion of these silver swimmers can return to the sea to reproduce.

8. African bush elephant – up to 70 years

african elephant
African Elephant in the bush. Image by Renato Conti via Pexels

The African bush elephant, the largest land mammal, roams across various African habitats, from savannas to deserts, and can live up to 70 years. These majestic creatures, reaching lengths of up to 24 feet and weighing 11 tons, are herbivores needing about 350 pounds of vegetation daily. Their societies are matriarchal, led by a matriarch, with males leading mostly solitary lives except when mating. Elephants are distinguished by their large ears, visible tusks used for foraging and defense, and a highly dexterous trunk capable of lifting over 400 pounds. Efforts to conserve them include enhancing their habitats and protecting them from poaching.

9. Blue and gold macaw – up to 100 years

Blue and gold macaw
Blue and gold macaw – Image via Depositphotos

Next on our list is the Blue and Gold Macaw, a vibrant resident of northeastern South America. These macaws are adept at cracking open hard nuts and seeds with their powerful beaks, aided by their zygodactyl feet for grasping and climbing, and they have a muscular gizzard to digest tough plant material. They nest in the cavities of tall trees, where the female lays one or two eggs and relies on the male for food and protection during the 24 to 26-day incubation. In the wild, they live about 40 years. Still, in captivity, they can live up to 80 to 100 years, during which older macaws teach younger birds about survival skills like food acquisition and predator avoidance.

10. Elephant seals – up to 20 years

Elephant Seal
By “Mike” Michael L. Baird, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3578991

Elephant seals, split into northern and southern species, lead difficult lives with survival challenges and migrations. The southern elephant seal, recognized as the largest seal, ventures from sub-Antarctic breeding grounds to icy Antarctic waters rich in squid and fish, while the northern species prefers the coasts and islands. During breeding, females endure an 11-month pregnancy before fasting while nursing their pups. Both species embark on long, deep-sea foraging trips, diving to impressive depths in search of food. They often follow distinct migration routes: males stick to consistent paths while females adjust their paths based on prey movement. The male seals typically live up to 14 years, while females can survive over 20 years.

11. Chinese giant salamander – up to 200 years

Chinese giant salamander
Chinese giant salamander- Image via Depositphotos

The Chinese giant salamander can live up to 200 years and is the largest amphibian in the world, dating back to the time of the dinosaurs. It lives in China’s fast rivers, grows up to 6 feet long, and breathes through its skin because it has no gills. Unfortunately, this creature is critically endangered due to extinction, pollution, and being hunted for its meat, which is highly valued. Attempts to put farm-raised salamanders back into the wild have faced issues because these salamanders may carry diseases and are not the same genetically as wild ones. It’s a challenging period for this ancient survivor, and many wildlife organizations are desperately trying to save its lives and increase its population.

12. The olm (aka the Human Fish) – up to 100 years

Olm Proteus Anguinus in the Slovenian Postojna Cave
Olm Proteus Anguinus in Slovenian Postojna cave- Image via Depositphotos

Next on our list is also a salamander! The olm, also known as “the human fish” due to its flesh-like skin, is an extraordinary salamander that holds the record for the longest-lived amphibian, potentially reaching over 100 years old. This blind cave-dweller in European caves baffles scientists because it doesn’t age like other animals. Despite being small and having a simple lifestyle with minimal activity and slow reproduction, olms live much longer than larger amphibians like the Japanese giant salamander. Researchers are exploring theories such as efficient mitochondria to explain their minimal aging. These unique creatures thrive in stable cave environments free from predators, which could possibly contribute to their longevity.

13. Sulfur-crested cockatoo – up to 80 years

Crested brimstone cockatoo
Crested brimstone cockatoo- Image via Depositphotos

The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, a striking white parrot with a vibrant yellow crest, can live up to 80 years in captivity. Native to eastern Australia and other parts of Oceania, these birds thrive in wild rainforests and urban areas. They are social creatures and amazing mimics, capable of learning words and phrases like toddlers. These cockatoos have a diverse diet of berries, nuts, seeds, and roots and engage in activities like biting off branches to help keep their bills in shape. With proper care, these birds enjoy a long lifespan, making them a lifelong companion to humans.

14. Tuatara – up to 140 years

Tuatara New Zealand native reptile
Tuatara New Zealand native reptile – Image via Depositphotos

The tuatara, a unique reptile native to New Zealand, is one of the longest-living reptiles, with some individuals reaching up to 137 years old. Researchers attribute this remarkable lifespan to the tuatara’s slow aging process once they reach adult size. Although their longevity is notable, not all tuataras reach such old age, especially those facing threats from predators like rats. The life expectancy of these ancient reptiles is influenced by various physical traits such as having a shell or producing venom, which help protect them and enable slower aging.

15. Greenland sharks – up to 500 years old

Greenland sharks
Greenland sharks image by Guryan via pexels

Greenland sharks are known to be some of the longest-living vertebrates on Earth, with scientists estimating they can live at least 250 years, possibly over 500 years. These sharks have an incredibly slow metabolism, which adapts to the frigid, deep waters they inhabit, allowing them to grow slowly—less than 1 cm per year. Interestingly, their age was a mystery until researchers discovered they could use carbon dating on proteins in the shark’s eyes, which do not degrade over time. This method revealed that one large female shark could have been between 272 and 512 years old! The longevity and slow maturity of these sharks mean their removal from the ocean can impact their species and ecosystem for centuries, highlighting the importance of reducing bycatch to protect these ancient swimmers.

16. Bowhead whale – up to 200 years

bowhead whale
Bowhead whale mother with her calf. Image by CoreyFord via Depositphotos

Bowhead whales, inhabiting the Arctic and sub-Arctic waters, are known for their incredible longevity, often living over 200 years. These massive mammals can grow up to 60 feet long and weigh around 75 tons. Their baleen plates (the massive vertical plates on each side of their upper jaw) help them filter feed on small marine organisms like krill and plankton. Bowhead whales have a robust, thick-skinned body that helps them break through ice, a necessity for their cold habitat. Remarkably, their long lifespan is partly due to their genetic adaptations that protect them from cancer and other age-related diseases.

17. Orange roughy – up to 150 years

Orange roughy fish
Orange roughy fish – Image by michel74100 via Depositphotos

Orange roughy, a deep-sea fish found in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific Oceans, can live up to 150 years. Recognizable by their bright orange color, these fish inhabit depths between 180 and 1,800 meters. They grow slowly and mature late, often not reaching reproductive age until they are 20-30 years old. Their long lifespan is attributed to their slow metabolism and deep-sea habitat. However, overfishing has significantly impacted their populations, as their slow reproductive rate makes recovery difficult.

18. Rougheye rockfish – up to 205 years

Rougheye rockfish
Rougheye rockfish – image by nataliyatarat via Depositphotos

Next, we came up with the Rougheye rockfish found in the North Pacific Ocean. Though Rougheye rockfishes look similar to Orange roughy, they are one of the longest-living fish, with some individuals reaching over 205 years. These fish dwell in rocky reefs and underwater caves at depths of 25 to 900 meters. They have a distinctive appearance, with pinkish to light brown coloration and spines around their eyes. Rougheye rockfish grow slowly and reach maturity at around 20 years. Their extended lifespan is due to their slow metabolism, which reduces wear and tear on their bodies.

19. Galápagos tortoise – up to 177 years

Galapagos Tortoise
Image by GUDKOVANDREY via depositphotos.com

Galápagos tortoises, native to the Galápagos Islands, can live up to 177 years.These giant reptiles are among the longest-living vertebrates, known for their slow pace and long necks. They can weigh over 500 pounds and reach lengths of 5 feet. Their herbivorous diet consists mainly of grasses, leaves, and cactus pads. Their longevity is linked to their slow metabolism and low predation risk on the isolated islands. Conservation efforts are crucial for their survival, as they face threats from habitat loss and introduced species.

20. Red coral – over 500 years

 Red coral
Red coral – Image via Depositphotos

Red coral, found in the Mediterranean Sea, can live for over 500 years. These marine corals form slow-growing colonies that create stunning red branches, often used in jewelry. Red corals thrive in rocky seabeds at depths between 10 and 300 meters. They are filter feeders, relying on water currents to bring plankton and other small organisms to their polyps. Their longevity is due to their slow growth rates and the stable environments of their deep-sea habitats. However, overharvesting and climate change have significantly reduced their population in recent years.

21. Lake Sturgeon – up to 150 years

Lake Sturgeon
Lake Sturgeon- image by KrzysztofWinnik via Depositphotos

You’ll find the lake sturgeon in North American freshwater systems, living as long as 150 years. These prehistoric fish can grow to 7 feet and weigh over 200 pounds. They’re known for their distinctive bony scutes and long, pointed snouts. As bottom feeders, they snack on small invertebrates and plants. Their longevity comes from their slow growth and delayed maturity—they often don’t spawn until they’re 15-25 years old. Unfortunately, habitat destruction and overfishing have drastically reduced their numbers, making conservation efforts vital.

22. Immortal jellyfish (turritopsis dohrnii) – potentially infinite

Immortal jellyfish
Immortal jellyfish- Image via Depositphotos

The immortal jellyfish in the Mediterranean and Japan does just that by reverting to its juvenile form after reaching adulthood. This tiny, transparent jellyfish undergoes a process called transdifferentiation, essentially resetting its life cycle. This amazing ability has researchers buzzing about potential medical breakthroughs in aging.

23. Longfin eel – up to 106 years

Longfin eel
Longfin eel – image by izanbar via Depositphotos

You’d be amazed by the longfin eel, which you can find in New Zealand and Australia, living up to 106 years. These eels take their time growing, often maturing after 20 years and can stretch up to 4 feet long. Their survival is attributed to their slow metabolism and adaptability, but they’re threatened by overfishing and habitat loss, urging protective measures.

24. Shortraker rockfish – up to 157 years

Shortraker rockfish
Shortraker rockfish – Image via Depositphotos

Deep in the North Pacific Ocean, the shortraker rockfish makes its home on rocky reefs and in underwater canyons up to 900 meters deep. With a lifespan of up to 157 years, these fish are pinkish-red and robust. They grow slowly, maturing between 20-30 years old, and their deep-sea life contributes to their extended lifespan.

25. Arctic tern – up to 34 years

Artic Tern sitting on a rock. Kristian Pikner, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Artic Tern sitting on a rock. Kristian Pikner, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you track the journey of the Arctic tern, you’d be following it from the Arctic to the Antarctic every year, a whopping 25,000 miles. Known as the bird with the longest migration record, these birds have extremely long wings. Living up to 34 years, Arctic terns avoid harsh climates and access abundant food, contributing to their long lifespan. They’re small but mighty, with a black cap, red beak, and a distinctive forked tail.

26. Lobster – up to 70 years

Lobster
Lobster – image by GoranJakus via Depositphotos

You might not know, but lobsters can live up to 70 years. These crustaceans, thriving mainly in the North Atlantic’s cold waters, have a hard shell and large claws they use for defense and hunting. Their longevity is partly due to their ability to regenerate tissues and a slow metabolism. However, not all lobsters live long.

27. Tufted puffin – up to 20 years

Tufted puffin
Tufted puffin – Image via Depositphotos

You’d recognize a tufted puffin with its striking black body, white face, and distinctive tufts. Native to the North Pacific, these birds live up to 20 years, nesting in burrows on rocky cliffs and feeding on small fish and invertebrates. Their long life is supported by efficient foraging techniques and predator avoidance, making them resilient in their natural habitats.

28. Greenland halibut – up to 50 years

Greenland Halibut -
Greenland Halibut – Image by Brian Yurasits via Unsplash

In the chilling waters of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, you can see the Greenland halibut, or turbot, living up to 50 years. These predatory fishes are notable for their asymmetrical body with eyes on one side. These flatfish grow slowly and mature around 10-12 years. Their deep-sea environment offers stability and protection but faces overfishing and climate change challenges.

29. Quillback rockfish – up to 95 years

Quillback rockfish
Quillback rockfish – image by svetas via Depositphotos

You can spot quillback rockfish by their dark coloration and venomous spines, dwelling in the North Pacific’s rocky reefs and caves. These fishes can be found from the Gulf of Alaska to the Northern Chanel Islands in California. Living up to 95 years, they grow slowly and mature between 15-20 years. Their longevity results from their secluded deep-sea habitat, which provides a slow-paced life with minimal threats.

30. Green sea turtle – up to 80 years

Green Sea Turtle
Green Sea Turtle grazing seagrass in Akumal bay. By P.Lindgren – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27611674

Explore the tropical and subtropical oceans, and you might be lucky enough to spot a green sea turtle. These majestic creatures can live up to 80 years, distinguished by their greenish bodies and heart-shaped shells. They thrive on a diet of seagrass and algae. Their impressive migratory journeys, which span vast distances for feeding and nesting, are key to their prolonged survival.

31. American alligator – up to 50 years

American Alligator cooling down
American alligator cooling down in water. Image via Bobyellow, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you visit the US, there is a greater chance of you coming across the formidable American alligator. This alligator thrives in rivers, swamps, and wetlands for as long as 50 years. With their powerful jaws and robust bodies, these alligators dominate the top of the food chain in their environments. Thanks to dedicated conservation efforts, their populations have made a strong comeback from the brink of extinction.

32. Blanding’s turtle – up to 80 years

Blanding's turtle - image by Vladimir Koval via Depositphotos
Blanding’s turtle – image by Vladimir Koval via Depositphotos

Last but not least, we have the Blanding’s turtle! In the Great Lakes region, Blanding’s turtles capture attention with their distinctive yellow throat and high-domed shell. These turtles live up to 80 years, thriving in shallow wetlands and slow-moving streams. They are omnivores, enjoying a varied diet of plants and small animals. Their longevity is supported by slow growth and the ability to hibernate during harsh winters, which conserves energy and resources. Conservation is key for their survival, as habitat destruction and road mortality pose significant threats to their populations.

Conclusion

Large tortoise reptile walking on sandy ground. Image by paulvinten via Depositphotos

These long-living animals show us how nature’s creatures can thrive and survive for many years in different environments. From deep seas to old forests, their long lives help us learn more about nature and remind us why we need to protect them. As we learn more about these amazing animals, their stories encourage us to take care of the world’s wildlife and their homes.

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