Which animals live the longest? Animals living in the wild rarely approach their maximum possible age. This is because of the high mortality rate caused by competition for food and shelter, habitat loss and destruction, climate change and bad weather, predators, and even infant mortality. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t live their full life. The wilderness is all about ‘survival of the fittest.’ Those who tackle the obstructions and challenges go on to live and complete their life span. Thanks to top-notch medical care and facilities, an average human can live up to 80-90 years. Of course, over the years, our life span has only decreased. Earlier, people used to live for over 100 years. But with pollution and the type of food we eat, it is taking a toll on our body.
But, we are not here to talk about humans. We are here to talk about the longest living animals on the planet.
We have compiled a list of the top 8 animals that live the longest.
#1 Greenland Shark
Greenland sharks are said to have a minimum lifespan of 272 years. As per a study conducted using eye lens radiocarbon testing, a Greenland shark grows about 1cm every year. At this rate, they reach maturity at about 100 years old. That’s a long childhood. Their slow growth is the primary reason why they are the longest-living vertebrates on the planet. The oldest one was found to be 400 years old. They are considered near-threatened due to population decline. They live in the North Atlantic and Arctic waters at depths ranging from 4000 to 7000 feet and more.
#2 Bowhead Whale
Bowhead whale or Arctic whale is the longest living mammal on the earth. As per the Canadian Journal of Zoology published in 1999, Bowhead whales can live for more than 200 years. Due to poaching activities and changing climate, their age is limited to 60-70 years. But if there is no one threatening their lives, they can easily complete their life span of 200 years. They prefer the colder waters of the North Pacific and Atlantic. They are continuously poached for their meat and oil.
#3 Galapagos Tortoise
Galapagos tortoises have an average lifespan of 177 years. It is considered the longest living vertebrate on land. They were once listed under the endangered species, but conservation activities and awareness brought them back. Today, Galapagos tortoises have a thriving population. According to conservationists, a 100-year-old Galapagos tortoise will still be classed as a young adult. So, you can imagine how long they can live in a protected environment.
#4 Red Sea Urchin
Number two int the list of animals that live the longest, red sea urchins have a life expectancy of 100-200 years. They are native to the Pacific Ocean and live in shallow waters. In some cases, they have been found in rocky waters as well. They attract fewer predators because of their spines, but they are vulnerable to extremely wavy areas and low-tide lines. They get easily stuck between rocks and die.
#5 Lamellibrachia Tube Worm
Lamellibrachia Tube Worm is a colorful deep sea creature that has a life expectancy of 170-250 years. They live extremely deep on the ocean floor, where hydrocarbon cold seep vents are present. During its entire life, Lamellibrachia Tube Worm can grow up to 6-feet long. They grow slowly throughout the duration of its life; this is probably the reason why they have an incredibly high life expectancy. These worms are found in the Atlantic Ocean.
#6 Geoduck Clam
Geoduck clams are the oversized saltwater clams that live for more than 165 years. During their first years of life, geoduck clams grow at an average of 1 inch per year for the first four years. During their entire lifetime, they can grow up to reach 3-feet in length. Interestingly, their shells grow no longer than 8 inches. They are native to the Pacific Northwest, ranging from California to Alaska.
The largest mammal on the planet has an average lifespan of 70 years, which is pretty much similar to humans. Elephants are incredibly social and intelligent creatures. Their brain itself weighs a little over 11 pounds. In the wild, they are always faced with challenges from predators and poachers. Apex predators like lions hunt on baby elephants just after they are born. Poachers, on the other hand, kill this beautiful animal for their tusks. Zimbabwean research found that female elephants remain fertile until death.
#8 Immortal Jellyfish
Could some animals live forever? It is rare, but there is a unique jellyfish that can revert back to its premature state when exposed to injury, damage, or stress. While they are biologically immortal, in the ocean, they rarely live forever. An injured jellyfish get eaten by other animals. So, only if it is able to protect itself from predators it can live forever, and that why it made it to the list of animals that live the longest.
There are many other animals like Macau, ocean quahog, koi fish, etc., that have an impressive lifespan. If you think of any other species that live the longest, do care to tell us.