The World’s Longest-Living Animals Surpass Your Wildest Expectations

All animals are born, live, and then eventually die. However, how much time they have on the planet is determined according to their species, habitat, and situation. Some animals may only live for less than a year while others have been alive for so long that it’s mind-blowing. Take a look to see the animals on the planet that live the longest lives considering they aren’t hunted, killed, or die of other causes prematurely. There’s even one that’s considered by scientists to be immortal.

Greenland Shark

Greenland Shark
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The Greenland shark, otherwise known as the gurry or grey shark is a “sleeper shark” that is typically found in the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. Estimated to have the capacity to live 300 to 500 years old, it has the longest lifespan of any vertebrate species and is also one of the biggest sharks still in existence.

They can grow to be over 21 feet and weigh over a ton. The Greenland shark lives deep beneath the surface which in turn has caused its meat to become toxic, making it an apex predator eating just about anything it can get its hands on.

Rougheye Rockfish

Rougheye Rockfish
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The rougheye rockfish gets its name for the spines that it has beneath its lower eyelid. They are a deepwater fish found in the North Pacific along the coast of Japan, the Bering Sea, the Aleutian Islands, and as far south as San Diego, California.

They have an extremely long lifespan, with the oldest one recorded being 205 years old. Although they swim in schools in some parts of the year, usually, they are solitary or travel in small groups. Their diet consists of crabs, shrimps, amphipods, and mysids.

New Zealand Longfin Eel

Long-Finned Eel
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The New Zealand longfin eel is the only and largest freshwater eel in New Zealand. Although they migrate to the Pacific to breed upon their deaths, as juveniles they are incredible climbers and can be found in streams and lakes very far inland. Female eels are larger than males growing up to 28 inches and having a lifespan of up to 106 years!

Interestingly enough, these eels have such a complicated life cycle that scientists still aren’t entirely sure how it fully works. Yet, their age is attributed to their incredibly slow growth rate of less than half an inch a year.

Koi Fish

Koi Fish
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Koi are a colored variety of Amur carp that are typically used for decorative purposes in ponds and water gardens. While carp were originally found in Central Europe, they were first domesticated in East Asia. Thousands of years ago, they were bred for color mutations in China and became extremely popular in Japan in the 1820s.

In the right conditions, and out the reach of predators, Koi have the ability to live up to 100 and even 200 years. One Koi, named Hanako died in 1977 although she was recorded to have lived for 226 years!

Blue Whale

Blue Whale
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The blue whale is a massive marine mammal that grows up to 100 feet and weighs around 190 tons, making it the largest animal to have ever existed on Earth. The three subspecies are the North Atlantic, North Pacific, and the Southern Ocean which can be found in the Indian and South Pacific Oceans.

Almost brought to extinction by whalers, they were protected internationally in 1966. Today, there’s an estimated 10,000 to 25,000 worldwide although there used to be 100,000. With the whale’s only natural predator being orcas, scientists believe that they can live to be up to 80 years old.

Olm

Olm
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Olm is an aquatic salamander in Europe that differs from other amphibians because it lives entirely underwater. They’re commonly found in the underground waters in the caves of the Dinaric Alps and other underground waterways in Central and Southeastern Europe.

Due to its habitat, its eyes are undeveloped although its other senses are extremely acute and trained for living in complete darkness most of its life. The longevity of most olms is estimated to be around 70 years although they have a maximum lifespan of 100. This is incredible considering their rather small size.

Elephants

Elephant
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Currently, there are three recognized species of elephants which are the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian Elephant. Although they are different species, besides some physical differences, for the most part, they have similar temperaments, lifestyles, and extreme intelligence.

Because they are so large and travel in groups, they are relatively safe from predators who tend to only go after their young. In the wild, elephants can live to be up to 70 years old with the oldest elephant being Lin Wang, who is 86 years old in captivity.

American Lobster

American Lobster
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The American lobster is a species of lobster that can be found in the Atlantic coast along North America. Typically, they can grow to be over two feet in length and weigh over 44 pounds. Its weight makes it not only the heaviest crustacean in the world but also the heaviest arthropod.

They tend to dwell in murky water at the bottom, of the seafloor, feeding off of claims, snails, and crabs. If undisturbed by predators and humans and unaffected by the disease, some American lobsters can live to be up to 100 years old.

Bowhead Whale

Bowhead Whales
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The bowhead whale is of the family Balaenide, growing up to 59 feet in length and doesn’t have a dorsal fin. It has the largest mouth of any animal and resides in the Arctic and sub-Arctic waters. Unfortunately, it was a whaling target and had its population significantly reduced in the years prior to 1966 before the species became protected.

Believed to live for over 200 years, its considered one of the longest-living mammals. In 2007, one particular whale was discovered which had a harpoon wound that dated between 1879 and 1885. This led scientists to take a closer look into their longevity, coming to the realization they live much older than previously thought.

The Immortal Jellyfish

Immortal Jellyfish
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The immortal jellyfish is a small species of jellyfish that is typically found in the Mediterranean Sea as well as the waters of Japan. It’s called the immortal jellyfish because it has the ability to reach sexual maturity and then revert back to a stage of being sexually immature once again, essentially restarting its life cycle.

It is one of the few known species that has this ability. Although theoretically, these processes can go on indefinitely, most immortal jellyfish succumb to predation and disease before most can live up to their “immortal” reputation.

Blue And Yellow Macaw

Blue And Yellow Macaw
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The blue and yellow macaw is a multi-colored South American parrot with hues of blue, yellow, and even green at the top of its head. They reside in various parts of South America including forest, woodland, and savannah of the tropics.

They are larger than most other parrots measuring to be over 30 inches in length and a weight of approximately three pounds. Couples tend to mate for life and live between 30 to 35 years in the wild. However, in captivity, they can live to be 50 years. The oldest ever recorded was 104 years old in England.

Ocean Quahog Clam

Ocean Quahog Clam
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The ocean quahog, or Arctica Islandica, is a species of clam that is harvested as a commercial food source in the North Atlantic Ocean. What makes it so different from others is that it lives beneath the ground whereas most other clams can be found above ground and even above water during low tide.

They can grow to have a shell height of over two inches and have exceptional longevity mostly due to them living beneath the earth. Currently, the oldest living specimen is 507 years old and is named Ming the clam since it was alive during the Ming Chinese Dynasty.

Andean Condor

Andean
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The Andean condor is a South American bird commonly found in the Andes mountains and the coast of western South America. Its weight and wingspan make it the world’s largest flying bird. Their wingspan can be as large as almost 11 feet. This is primarily a scavenger bird that feeds on already deceased animals.

They reach sexual maturity around five or six years of age and make their own nests on rock ledges in elevations up to 16,000 feet. They are one of the longest-living birds with some living up to 70 years.

Galapagos Tortoise

Galapagos Tortoise
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The Galapagos “giant” tortoise is the largest living species of tortoise ever discovered. They reside specifically on the Galapagos Islands and are native to seven of the surrounding islands. The islands were discovered by Spanish explorers in the 16th century who named them the Galapagos which comes from the Spanish word galápago, meaning “tortoise.”

They can live to be well over 100 years old, with one tortoise in captivity living to be 170 years old, making them one of the longest-living vertebrates on the planet. They have no true predators except their population has declined drastically due to overexploitation of the species.

Pink Cockatoo

Pink Cockadoo
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The pink cockatoo, also known as Mayor Mitchell’s cockatoo is a medium-sized species of cockatoo that can be found inland and in arid areas of Australia. Currently, their population is in decline due to development that is occurring in the areas where they naturally reside.

The birds reach sexual maturity at 3 or 4 years of age although the male and females are essentially identical except males are usually bigger. The oldest pink cockatoo ever recorded was 83 years old showing their longevity.

Red Sea Urchin

Red Sea Urchin
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The red sea urchin resides in shallow waters and up to 300 feet deep in the northeastern Pacific Ocean from Alaska down to Baja California. The urchin is covered in spines with a mouth on the underside which consists of five teeth, which they use to feed on various seaweeds and algae.

They are usually found in clumps of five to ten with their spines have the capability of regenerating, allowing them to have a lifespan ranging from 30 to 200 years. Their ability to regenerate their spine led some scientists to believe they are practically immortal.

Tuatara

Tatura
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Tuatara is a species of lizards that are native to New Zealand and although they look like a common lizard, are part of the special order Rhynchocephalia. After being discovered and classified as lizards in 1831, fossil records showed that they can be traced back to the Triassic Period, around 251-199 million years ago.

Commonly referred to as living fossils, they are incredibly adapted to their environment yet aren’t a totally stagnant species. They have the slowest growth rate of any lizard and although the average lifespan is 60 years, they can live to be well over 100.

Aldabra Tortoise

Aldabra Tortoise
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Native to Aldabra Island, the Aldabra tortoise is one of the biggest tortoises in the world. They are able to go without food or water for long periods of time which gives them an advantage while surviving in the wild.

They can reach more than 100 years of age although their age has been difficult to study because they tend to outlive the scientists studying them. Currently, the Aldabra tortoises at the Smithsonian’s Natural Zoo are estimated to be 80 years old with one adult pair arriving in 1956 and the other in 1976.

Brandt’s Bat

Brandt's Bat
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A species of vesper bat, Brandt’s bat is commonly found throughout Europe and Asia. They are particularly small, with the length of its head and body only being around 1.5 to 2 inches with its tail being around the same size. Amazingly, Brants bats have impressive longevity considering their small size.

The longest ever recorded lived to be 41 years old in Siberia while most others tend to live well over 20 years. Compared to other animals its size, they live 9.6 times longer than expected which is the greatest value of any mammal.

Humans

Humans
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In the grand scheme of things, humans are one of the longest-living species on planet earth and are certainly close to the top of the list when it comes to mammals. Currently, the average human lifespan is around 79 years, although there are exceptions of course.

Today, there are more than 500,000 people over the age of 100 at any given time thanks to advances in science and medicine and overall comfort of life. The oldest person to have ever lived was a French woman named Jeanne Calment who lived to be 122 (1875-1997).

Australian Lungfis

Australian Lungfish
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Also known as the Queensland lungfish, this long standing creature can survive for 80 years in the wild, reaching a weight of nearly 90 pounds. That’s not what makes this animal really incredible, though.

The feature that really sets the lungfish apart from other fish is its ability to breathe air. Take it out of the water and the fish won’t suffocate! There are six extants of lungfish, all with a complex respiratory system that helps them survive the drying conditions!

Beaked Whale

beaked whale
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Baird’s beaked whales live mostly in the northern Pacific Ocean. The giant animal can grow to over 25,000 pounds and live an extremely long time. The oldest beaked whale ever recorded was 84 years old.

Sadly, these majestic behemoths were commercially exploited in the past, decimating their population. Today, it is estimated that there are only around 30,000 Baird’s beaked whales living in the wild today. Hunting of these animals was officially banned in 1974.

Orca

orca
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Orcas, also known as killer whales, have devilishly long lifespans. The oldest recorded orca was 90-years-old and weighed almost 9,000 pounds! One of the most popular animals on this list, orcas may seem friendly as water parks, but you wouldn’t want to play with one in the wild.

In the ocean, orcas have no natural predators. Even scarier, they have been known to attack great white sharks! The sharks fatty liver is a favorite snack of these air breathing ocean dwellers.

Atlantic Halibut

atlantic halibut
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Not just a favorite of seafood lovers on the Atlantic coast, the Atlantic halibut has one of the longest lifespans of wild fish. Reaching nearly 400 pounds, they can live for 90 years, but rarely make it that long.

Whether they became the meal of another sea creature or a human, halibut are a popular prey food in the deep blue sea. Because of over fishing and slow growth rates, the Atlantic halibut is currently listed as an endangered species.

Humpback Whale

humpback whale
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On the surface, you’d be surprised to see humpback whales on this list. The average lifespan of this animal is only 40 to 50 years, but left alone they can live twice as long as expected.

The oldest humpback whale ever recorded was 95-years-old. Humpback whales are also not endangered and can be seen frequently in the wild. If you’ve never been whale watching of the coast of the United States, it’s one of the best ways to see humpback whales.

Yangtze Sturgeon

sturgeon
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The Yangtze sturgeon is considered critically endangered. Over fished to near extinction, when left alone these creatures can live for over 100 years and weigh nearly 800 pounds. Sadly, if more conservation efforts aren’t made, these sturgeon might not be around for much longer.

Fisheries have raised and released thousands of new sturgeons into the wild for years, but these once captive fish refuse to breed once out in the wild. No one knows why.

Pacific Ocean Perch

ocean perch
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This is one fish you don’t want to judge by its size. Although maxing out under two pounds, the oldest Pacific ocean perch ever record was 100-years-old. Widely distributed along the coast, take a dive in the ocean and you’ll probably find one.

Aside from their age weight, not much is known about the Pacific ocean perch. Scientists are yet to learn about their mating habits or why they swim as deep as 400 meters deep at certain times of the year.

White Sturgeon

white sturgeon
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The most common sturgeon in the United States, the white sturgeon is a monster of a fish. And we don’t mean that as a joke. The big fish can live for over 100 years and reach nearly 1,000 pounds.

Because of its size and its smooth back, many people believe that white sturgeon sightings are responsible for many of the ocean monster myths we believe in. Wouldn’t it be fitting if the Lock Ness Monster was really just an over-sized sturgeon?

Telescope Cardinal

telescope cardinal
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Not much is known about this bug eyed, shallow bodied fish. The oldest discovered was 104 years old, but scientists are unsure just how big they can grow. Rising from the deep, they look like an animal out of a horror film.

In reality, there is nothing scary about these fish. They are commonly fished and appear to have a steady population. They are most commonly found in the northern Atlantic Ocean along the continental slope.

Finback Whale

fin whale
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The second largest species on earth next to the blue whale, the finback whale is a massive beast. A fully mature whale can reach 154,000 pounds and can live for over 110 years left alone.

As of 2019, the finback whale was considered a vulnerable species. They can be found in oceans around the world and are a member of the baleen whale family. Their only known predator is the killer whale, which we highlighted previously on this list.

Sablefish

pacific cod
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This moderately sized fish is another popular seafood option for those with a taste for the ocean. It can grow up to 69 pounds and left alone in the wild can live to around 114-years-old.

Some other common names for sablefish include black cod, coal cod, candlefish, blue cod, bluefish, butterfish, coal fish and beshow. The fish is such a popular food source than fisheries exist to make sure that it is not in danger of becoming extinct.

European Pond Turtle

european pond turtle
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Another small animal, the European pond turtle makes up for its lack of size with its incredible lifespan. The oldest record pond turtle ever was 118 years old. With age didn’t come size, as it weighed just barely more than two pounds.

In 2019, the European pond turtle was listed as nearly threatened, but not yet endangered. Still, conservation have been made to ensure the survival of this long living, fresh water species of turtle.

Spur-Thighed Tortoise

greek tortoise
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Weighing it at one and half pounds, the spur-thighed tortoise has been known to reach ages over 120 years old. This is not the tortoise you want to keep as a pet! Unless you’re the oldest living human being of all-time, we mean.

Then again, that warning hasn’t stopped people. The spur-thighed tortoise is one of the most popular pets of turtles owners. Only ten inches long, they are relatively easy to care for as long as you’re okay with a lifetime commitment.

Eastern Box Turtle

eastern box turtle
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Another turtle with small stature but a long life expectancy, the Eastern box turtle can live for nearly 140 years! That’s almost double the life span of the average human. We can’t believe it!

Box turtles are considered a vulnerable species. Although they can live for a long time, they rarely mate and are very slow moving, making them easy prey targets. Their population has also been decimated by the grown of society as they are often run over on paved roads.

Lake Sturgeon

lake sturgeon
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The lake sturgeon can live an extremely long time. The oldest living one ever found was 154 years old, but it is estimated they can live even longer. They are also not as big as other sturgeon species, topping out under 200 pounds.

At one point in time, these fish were considered an endangered species, but successful conservation efforts have led to a growth in numbers. They are not out of danger yet, but are no longer considered vulnerable.

Sea Sponge

sea sponge
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Here’s an animal that people forget exists; sea sponges. The rarely remembered about animals are content just to be able to live their lives, which can reach thousands of years. That’s right, sea sponges can live for thousands of years.

So what exactly is a sea sponge? They are simple animals that lack tissues and organs. And they look nothing like Spongebob, although he is technically supposed to be a sea sponge and not a dish sponge.

Albatross

albatross
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For years, scientists believed that albatrosses only lived around 40 years. Then they discovered Wisdom, a 65-year-old albatross. The age of the bird blew scientists away and shattered everything they thought they knew about these birds.

Wisdom isn’t done living, either. Continuing to shock scientists, she continues mating and giving birth to new offspring in her twilight years. If these are in fact, her twilight years. For all we know, Albatrosses could live for 100 years or more!

Kakapo

kakapo
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While most small birds only live five to ten years in the wild, kakapos can live up to 60 years when left alone. Sadly, these flightless birds are running into a population problem.

In 2019, kakapos were listed as critically endangered. The only species of flightless parrot, it would be a shame to see these lovely animals go extinct. Current estimates list the population of wild birds left at just over 100. Hopefully in a few years those numbers begin to soar.

Coral

black coral
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Believe it or not, coral reefs are living, breathing organisms. Black coral are some of the oldest organisms on the planet, reaching ages over 4,000-years-old. Sadly, like so many other animals on this list, the population of coral have been decimated.

The term for these reef is bleaching. They became white and lifeless, unable to provide their ecosystem, or be provided for any longer. Coral farms have begun springing up to combat the problem, but other factors, like pollution, must be worked on as well.

Mollusk

mollusk
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Mollusks can live a long, long time. While we don’t know exactly how long they can live, one of the oldest living ones ever discovered was 507-years-old. Another one was 374-years-old. They are also the world’s second largest invertebrate.

Amazingly, these resilient creatures have been around for a long time. According to the fossil record, the species goes back at least 500 million years! We don’t think any living one today is that old though. It one way, however, it would have quite the story to tell!