Under natural conditions, all animals might not reach their maximum possible age due to various reasons including infant mortality, diseases, predators among others. But today, we discuss the life expectancy of animals under ideal conditions. So, without further ado, let us delve into the top ten list of the longest living animals.
Longest Living Animals
1. TURRITOPSIS NUTRICULA JELLYFISH
This species of jellyfish might be the only one which can ‘bypass death’. Yes! Scientists have deemed this jellyfish to be ‘immortal’ because of its abilities to revert its cells to their earliest form and grow anew when in danger. It is capable of an unbelievable cycle in which it can change or convert itself from a mature adult stage to an immature polyp stage, which virtually means there is no limit to this creature’s lifespan. But in practice, these animals do not always live forever as they are eaten by their predators just like all other animals. It is the longest living animals in the world.
Image Source: Wikimedia
2. OCEAN QUAHOG ( Arctica Islandica)
You know how the age of a tree can be deduced by its rings? In the same way, researchers have interpreted that the Ocean Quahog has dark concentric rings or bands on its shell as annual marks from which its age can be determined. Some of these specimens have been collected and its age is supposedly over 400 years. These animals show phenomenal longevity with the highest reported age of this particular species being around 507 years old! That is more than half a century of years!
Image Source: Wikimedia
3. GREENLAND SHARKS
The Greenland shark is a species of shark endemic to the North Atlantic. Compared to other sharks, the Greenland sharks live deeper in the ocean and they practically eat anything. These sharks can easily live up to the age of 200 years old while a particular shark o this species was found to be 400 years old, making it the oldest vertebrate in the world! Scientists credit this exceptional longevity to their slow, sluggish growth because on an average they grow only around 1 cm a year and reach their maturity when they are around 100 years old.
Image Source: NOAA Photo Library (Flickr)
4. RED SEA URCHINS
A new study conducted recently has discovered that the red sea urchins are among the longest living animals on Earth. Found in the shallow waters of the Pacific Ocean along the west coast of North America these small, spiny invertebrate can live up to 100 years while some may even live to be 200 years old. In fact, an individual red sea urchin born in the year 1805 is believed to be still breeding to this day!
5. BOWHEAD WHALE
Bowhead whales are the second largest mammals, second only to the gigantic blue whale. The average lifespan of the bowhead whale is around 200 years. While humans may be old for one hundred years, these whales are only middle-aged by then and still have a lot of years to live. Some bowhead whales were found with harpoons still lodged in their flesh which was dated back to over 200 years old! The oldest known bowhead whale was believed to be at least around 210 years old.
Image Source: Photo Lib
6. GALAPAGOS GIANT TORTOISE
One of the endemic animals of Galapagos islands, Tortoises are considered to be one of the oldest living creatures on our planet. There was a particular tortoise named Harret, a Galapagos tortoise which lived to be 170 years old which died in the year 2006 due to a heart failure. These species of tortoise can easily for around 100 years. The average tortoise lifespan is believed to be around 150 years. People from all over the globe come to watch these magnificent, resilient creatures on the island of Galapagos.
The world’s biggest tortoise species can be more than 5 feet long and weigh 500 pounds or even more. It doesn’t eat much and mainly feeds on grass and nibbles on a cactus, however, because of the slow metabolism it can go for up to a year without eating anything at all. Also, they have the ability to store gallons of water in their bladders and it helps them from drying out during droughts and hot weather.
One of the most colorful birds, Macaws are long-tailed, colourful parrots that can live up to 80 – 100 years, while their breeding age ranges from 25 – 30 years. But unfortunately, these birds are considered an endangered species in the wild and at a few places, these wonderful parrots are considered to be even extinct due to the destruction of their natural habitat and also due to illegal pet trading. It is also listed as one of the most beautiful parrots in the world.
It belongs to the Parrot Family and the Hyacinth Macaw is the largest of all parrots and has a wingspan of approximately 4 feet. Total, 20 species of macaws exist and most of them are listed in categories of endangered and critically endangered. The bird species are long-lived with a lifespan of 60 years in the wild. The birds are social and love to stay in flocks of up to 30 birds.
8. AFRICAN ELEPHANT
One of the toughest animals in the world, The African elephant is the world’s largest land mammal and its average weight is around 5 – 7 tons. The average elephant lifespan is around 70 years. But according to the Guinness Book of Records, the oldest elephant lived for 86 years. It is one of the longest living animals in the world.
Scientifically known as Loxodonta Africana, The African Elephants are herbivores and eat over three hundred pounds of food daily and spend most of the day (18 hours) searching for food such as grass, plants, and bark to eat. Africa elephants are very thirsty and it is believed that they drink two hundred litres (52.8 gallons) of water at a single time. The eyesight is average, however, they have a good sense of smell and hearing.
9. LONG FINNED EEL
Eels generally live a long life but a particular species called the Long Finned eel tops the list. While eels have an average life expectancy of around 60 years, the oldest eel is the long-finned eel living for up to 106 years! The scientists have discovered that just like the Greenland sharks, the secret to the longevity of eels is the fact that they grow extremely slow.
Talking about the appearance, it has a dark colouration and the skin is silky and soft that can be easily damaged. It absorbs oxygen through the skin allowing them to travel on moist land. It can grow upto 1.2 m in length, however, 2 m eels are also spotted. The prey includes small fish, fish eggs, mice, ducklings and also carrion. The population is decreasing continuously because of commercial fishing.
10. KOI FISH
Koi fish is the domesticated variety of the common carp. The general life expectancy of these fishes are 25-30 years but it is believed that amazingly, some fishes of this species have reached ages over 200 years old! A famous Koi fish in Japan, named ‘Hanoko’ died in 1977 and a deep study of the growth rings on its scales proved that it was 226 years old!
The fish can reach upto 3 feet in length and it depends on the living conditions of the species. Also, the colour of fish depends on the variety and can be white, black, blue, red, cream and yellow in colour. People of Japan consider fish as a symbol of wealth, prosperity, love and successful career. The omnivorous animal loves to eat different kind of fish and their eggs and sometimes watermelon and peas. It easily recognizes the person who feeds them and can be trained easily from his or her hand.
So, there it is! The Top Ten list of the longest living animals. What do you think of these amazing species? Let us know in the comments!