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16 Longest-Living Animals In The World

Wondering what animals live the longest? You’re in the right place. We put together a list of the longest-living animals in the world!

Many creatures in the animal kingdom have exceptional longevity outliving humans by far.

We decided to rank these oldest-living animals to show you what incredible creatures live on our planet and how fantastic nature is.

Without further ado, let’s talk about the animals that live the longest.

16 Longest-Living Animals In The World

Below are the oldest animals on Earth in ascending order. To give you a point of reference, the human lifespan is 71 years, but it may vary significantly by country and region.

16. Koi Fish

Colorful koi fish in pond
  • Lifespan: 25 to 50 years on average

One of the toughest aquatic life, koi fish are hardy animals that can resist many parasites. 

Koi fish are found in coldwater lakes and rivers throughout Europe and Asia. 

When given the right environmental circumstances, koi may survive for, on average, 25 to 50 years.

The longest-living freshwater fish known to science was a Japanese koi carp that was 226 years old when it passed away in 1977.

Koi fish have been reported to be preyed on by raccoons, skunks, herons, otters, foxes, mink, badges, and cats.

15. Red Sea Urchin

Red Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus)
  • Lifespan: over 30 years on average

Echinoderms, or creatures with prickly skin, are a class of marine invertebrates, including red sea urchins. 

The range of red sea urchins extends from Alaska and Northern Japan to Baja California. They are mostly found on rocky outer coastal waters in Southeast Alaska.

They may live up to 300 feet below in the intertidal zone.

Although some fish, such as wolf eels, sea stars, and crabs, quickly consume sea urchins, large adult individuals appear less vulnerable to predation due to their size.

But even the biggest sea urchins may be eaten by sea otters, who split them open on rocks.

Red sea urchins have a lifespan that frequently surpasses 30 years. Scientists have discovered specimens of individuals that are more than 200 years old.

14. Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) closeup
  • Lifespan: over 50 years on average

Hyacinth macaws are not only one of the most beautiful birds in the world but also one of the most remarkable blue animals.

These magnificent Amazon Rainforest animals boast Brazil’s colors and live, as you might have guessed, in the Brazilian Amazon.

Hyacinth macaws are the largest species of macaws and flying parrots, but kākāpōs, as flightless birds, outweigh them at up to 7.7 pounds.

As the longest-living birds, the larger the individual, the longer the life expectancy. On average, the lifespan of a healthy macaw parrot is 50 years. They can, however, live for up to 100 years.

Some of the primary predators of the macaw are larger birds of prey, snakes, and monkeys.

13. New Zealand Longfin Eel

New Zealand Longfin Eel feeding in a stream
  • Lifespan: over 60 years on average

Only the rivers and lakes of New Zealand are home to the longfin eel, one of the largest freshwater eels in the world. 

According to estimates, large longfins are at least 60 years old. This gives them a place in the list of oldest living animals in the world.

In addition to being rare, longfin eels are less able to adapt to changes in their environment than their shorter-finned cousin.

Human actions, including pollution, dam construction, clearing vegetation, and overfishing, have a significant negative impact on them.

12. African Elephant

African forest elephant walking from bush and small trees
  • Lifespan: over 70 years on average

Among the biggest creatures on Earth, African elephants are 23 nations where these oldest living animals may be found, and they inhabit a range of habitats, including open and forested savannas, some deserts, and woodlands. 

These mammals can live as long as 70 years in a perfect environment, making them one of the longest-living animals. For comparison, Asian elephants live 48 years on average.

African Elephants have few predators to be concerned about due to their enormous size and strength, as well as the fact that they like to congregate in groups. 

Elephants that are young or ill may be targeted for predation by lions, hyenas, and crocodiles.

However, their biggest threat is poaching for the illegal ivory trade and habitat loss and fragmentation.

11. Galapagos Giant Tortoise

The Galapagos giant tortoise is the largest terrestrial tortoise species.
  • Lifespan: over 100 years on average

There are just six of the Galápagos Islands where the Galapagos giant tortoises live.

These tortoises love to wallow in sunny places or muddy puddles. Some may be seen resting behind big cliff-hanging boulders.

The main predators of those long-living animals are dogs, rats, and feral cats. 

Typically juvenile tortoises are under threat because their shell is not hardened yet. Additionally, Galapagos giant tortoises compete for vegetation with cattle and goats.

Still, these are the longest-living reptiles, with lifespans exceeding 100 years in the wild. Galapagos tortoises kept in captivity can live up to 177 years.

10. Freshwater Pearl Mussel

freshwater pearl mussels on the beach
  • Lifespan: over 130 years on average

Although they resemble regular sea mussels in shape, freshwater pearl mussels have substantially longer lives and more significant growth rates.

These mollusks can be found in healthy oxygen-rich rivers and clean freshwater bodies in the northern area of the northern hemisphere.

Freshwater pearl mussels are among the longest-living animals, and their average lifespan is around 130 years. The oldest European specimen was 134 years old when it was captured in 1993 in Estonia.

Muskrats, otters, raccoons, geese, ducks, flatworms, fish, and people are some of the predators of mussels.

9. Bowhead Whale

A pair of bowhead whales off the coast
  • Lifespan: over 200 years on average

Bowhead whales can reach around 62 feet in length and can still leap completely out of the water.

They may be found in Arctic waters around Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and eastern Siberia.

Bowhead whales are considered by many the world’s longest-living mammals, with the species’ oldest living members being 211 years old.

Killer whales are the only predator bowhead whales encounter in the wild. But because bowheads are so large, it takes a pod of killer whales to cause any harm.

Did you know? Bowheads have the largest mouth of any animal, reaching one-third of their body length.

8. Rougheye Rockfish

A rougheye rockfish swimming underwater
  • Lifespan: over 200 years on average

Rockfish have pronounced fins and many spines on their lower eyelid, which gives their name.

They are pink or tan down their sides and have reddish backs and fins.

The North Pacific region, especially the coast of Japan to the Navarin Canyon, is home to deepwater rougheye rockfish.

They are among the longest-living animals in the world and can live for more than 205 years. Rougheye rockfish are one of the fish species with the longest lifespans. 

Common predators of rockfish include lingcod, salmonids, and harbor seals. They are a great source of protein, much larger creatures like dolphins and sharks can also hunt these creatures.

7. Glass Sponge

The Glass Sponge, or Venus Flower Basket, found in tropical seas about 150-300 ft deep
  • Lifespan: over 200 years on average

Glass sponges are among the first multicellular creatures and contain a skeleton of silica spicules surrounded by a tissue layer resembling a cobweb. 

The silica-based structural spicules found in their tissues have the appearance of glass.

Their skeleton offer protection against a wide range of predators. However, it is known that some starfish eat glass sponges. 

On the other hand, glass sponges eat tiny germs and plankton that filter from the nearby water while living connected to hard surfaces.

Glass sponges are animals typically found in deep waters around the world. Some scientists believe that their maximum lifespan can be up to 15,000 years.

6. Ocean Quahog

Quahog clam at low tide on the beach
  • Lifespan: over 225 years on average

Ocean quahogs, Arctica islandica, are bivalve mollusks with shells that are hinged together, protecting their body. They are found in the Atlantic Ocean.

As one of the longest-living animals, ocean quahog can live up to around 225 years, reading a maximum of 5.5 inches in shell length.

Winter flounders, sculpins, moon snails, codfish, hermit crabs, skates, and humans are some of their common predators. The ocean quahog clams can also be consumed.

5. Greenland Shark

Greenland shark near the ocean ground
  • Lifespan: over 250 years on average

Greenland sharks are the biggest fish in the Arctic Ocean and are the only shark to dwell in that region all year round. They are found in North Atlantic areas only.

Scientists estimate their lifespan to be at least 250 years. However, the longest lifespan recorded may go up to 500 years.

Adult Greenland sharks have no known natural predators, most likely because of their enormous size. However, they have long been hunted for their liver oil and skin.

The capacity of Greenland sharks to descend to such great depths is one of the main reasons they are seen so seldom.

They have been observed traveling as deep as 7,200 feet, and they occasionally may be seen lounging on ledges and slopes thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface.

Greenland sharks are the longest-living fish in the world.

4. Escarpia Laminata Tubeworm

Tubeworm underwater with sunburst
  • Lifespan: between 250 and 300 years on average

Tubeworms are large worms that may grow up to 10 feet long and are exclusively found in cold seeps in the Gulf of Mexico’s deep ocean.

These worms are closely linked to other enormous tubeworms that live near hydrothermal vents in the deep oceans.

Quite a few deep-sea tube worm species are among the longest-living organisms, reaching a remarkable lifetime of approximately 250 years, with some individuals being over 1,000 years old.

However, how it receives enough nutrients, in the form of sulfide, to survive for this long has remained a mystery for the scientific community.

Few species from the deep ocean prey on tubeworms, including deep sea crabs, shrimp, enormous brown mussels, and gigantic clams.

3. Black Coral

Large black coral bushes in the depths of the reef
  • Lifespan: between 70 to 4,000 years

Antipatharians, often known as black corals, are colonial creatures related to sea anemones and stony corals.

Deep-water black corals can be found in all oceans, although they are most prevalent in deep-water environments of tropical and subtropical seas.

Some may appear in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as 300 feet on reef slopes.

In the epipelagic zone (the uppermost layer of a body of water that receives sunlight), black coral colonies have an estimated natural lifetime of 70 years. 

However, scientists have found the longest-lived animal aged around 4,265 years old, at depths of nearly 984 to 9,840 feet, making them some of the oldest living creatures on Earth.

Corals are susceptible to predators in addition to the weather. The fragile interior tissues of coral polyps are preyed upon by fish, marine worms, barnacles, crabs, snails, and sea stars.

2. Immortal Jellyfish

Immortal Jellyfish are among the longest-living animals in the world
  • Longest lifespan: no maximum lifespan

Immortal jellyfish, Turritopsis dohrnii, are little arthropods of the Oceaniidae family with an interesting life cycle. 

Since its first discovery in the Mediterranean Sea, immortal jellyfish have spread all over the world.

Waters from the tropics to the temperate zones are where immortal jellyfish typically live. They can be discovered on ship hulls, ocean floors, docks, and marinas.

Although, in reality, individuals can still pass away, theoretically, they can reverse their biological cycle endlessly, thereby making them biologically immortal.

In the wild, the majority of immortal jellyfish are likely to die of illness or predation while still in the medusa stage rather than changing back to the polyp form.

Still, they may live for thousands of years in the right environment, making them the longest-living animals.

Like other jellyfish, immortal jellyfish are most frequently preyed upon by other jellyfish. Other predators include sea anemones, tuna, sharks, swordfish, sea turtles, and penguins.

1. Hydra

Hydras are among the longest-living animals in the world
Hydras are among the longest-living animals in the world
  • Longest lifespan: no maximum lifespan

Native to temperate and tropical regions, hydras are freshwater organisms known for being the longest-living animals in the world.

These tiny creatures are biologically immortal because they do not age and have an incredible capacity for DNA regeneration.

Hydras are preyed upon by crabs, aquatic insects, and plathelminths.

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Matias Valenzuela

Monday 7th of August 2023

Pretty! This has been a really wonderful post. Many thanks for providing these details.