The Top 10 Animals That Live the Longest

mother elephant with her baby
Explore the top 10 animals that live the longest and unravel the secrets behind their exceptional longevity

Nature never ceases to amaze us with its incredible diversity, and one of its most fascinating aspects is the remarkable lifespan of certain animals. From the depths of the ocean to the ancient forests, numerous creatures have defied the boundaries of time itself. In this article, we will embark on a thrilling journey to explore the top 10 animals that live the longest and unravel the secrets behind their exceptional longevity. Get ready to be in awe of the wonders of the animal kingdom! Let’s read!

1. The Immortal Jellyfish (Turritopsis dohrnii)

two jellyfish dancing in the ocean

Let’s start our list with a remarkable creature – the Immortal Jellyfish. Despite being only 4-5mm in size, this tiny marvel can revert to its polyp stage after reaching maturity, effectively resetting its lifespan. 

The rejuvenation process of the Immortal Jellyfish involves transforming its cells, including muscle cells, into a younger state. This process allows it to escape death and start its life cycle anew. 

The Immortal Jellyfish has attracted significant scientific interest due to its unique ability to reverse aging. Researchers are studying its cellular mechanisms and potential applications for human health, such as understanding the processes of aging and regeneration!

2. The Greenland Shark (Somniosus microcephalus)

Venturing into the frigid depths of the Arctic and North Atlantic, we encounter the mysterious Greenland Shark

These elusive creatures are estimated to live for an astonishing 300 to 500 years, making them the longest-living vertebrates on the planet. Their slow metabolism, low body temperature, and DNA repair mechanisms contribute to their extraordinary lifespan.

Gliding through the chilly currents, the Greenland Shark couldn’t care less about being fashionably late to the shark party. In fact, it takes the notion of “slow and steady wins the race” to a new level as it saunters at a sluggish speed of a few centimeters per second. Maybe taking it slow is the secret to why animals live the longest!

3. The Bowhead Whale (Balaena mysticetus)

whale tails in the middle of the ocean

A charismatic giant in the vast expanse of the majestic Arctic seas reigns supreme—the Bowhead Whale! This aquatic superstar is the epitome of chill vibes and serenity. 

With a body designed for underwater ballet, the Bowhead Whale gracefully glides through the icy waters, captivating all lucky to witness its aquatic performance. Each gentle flick of its colossal tail sends ripples of joy through the ocean, spreading a contagious sense of wonder among its fellow sea creatures. 

This arctic dweller holds the record for the most extended lifespan of any mammal, reaching up to 200 years. Its thick blubber, which helps conserve heat in icy waters, also seems to protect against the harmful effects of aging!

4. The Koi Fish (Cyprinus carpio)

swimming koi fish in

These vibrant fish gracefully swim through the waters, with their lives marked by an average lifespan of 40 years. 

While it may seem surprising, the humble Koi Fish has found a place on our list, because proper nutrition, good water quality, and adequate care contribute to their extended lifespan, allowing them to bring joy to pond owners for generations. And there’s a brilliant example of that.

Amidst this peaceful aquatic realm, a legendary Koi named “Hanako” emerged, defying the passage of years with an awe-inspiring tale. In 1977, Hanako departed from this world, leaving behind a legacy etched in history – she had traversed an astonishing journey of 226 years.

5. Red Sea Urchin (Mesocentrotus franciscanus)

red sea urchin at the botton of the sea

Nestled among those formidable spines lie delicate tube feet that delicately comb the ocean floor in search of tasty morsels. And when it’s time to let loose and party, the Red Sea Urchin know how to have a ball—rolling around like a beachcombing disco ball, spreading sea urchin joy wherever it goes.

And you will be surprised at how long this disco party continues for a long, long time! Red sea urchins have been found to live for more than 200 years. 

They possess an extraordinary ability to regenerate damaged tissues, contributing to their extended lifespan.

6. The Galapagos Giant Tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra)

Galapagos tortoise resting on land

With a shell that could double as a cozy studio apartment, these magnificent creatures are the epitome of slow and steady wins in the race. They mosey through life at their own leisurely pace, as if they have all the time in the world (which they do!)

These gentle giants, endemic to the Galapagos Islands, have become symbols of longevity. With an average lifespan of 100 to 150 years, these tortoises owe their impressive longevity to their slow metabolism, sturdy shells, and low predation rates. 

They demonstrate the importance of a laid-back lifestyle and adapting to their unique environment.

7. The Aldabra Giant Tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea)

aldabra giant tortoise looking for food

Returning to the realm of tortoises, we find the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, endemic to the Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean. 

These gentle giants are like walking islands, carrying their own little ecosystem. With shells that could double as luxury condos, they strut around with the confidence of true VIPs. 

The breathtaking Aldabra turtles can live up to 150 years, owing their impressive longevity to their herbivorous diet, sturdy shells, and the relative absence of predators in their isolated habitat.

8. Orange Roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus)

A vibrant and enthusiastic character emerges in the ocean’s mysterious depths—the Orange Roughy! With its fiery orange hue and a taste for adventure, this fish sports a sleek and shiny coat as it glides through the currents like a disco dancer, grooving to the rhythm of the ocean beat.

Known for its elusive nature, the Orange Roughy loves playing hide-and-seek among the coral reefs, leaving marine biologists scratching their heads in search of its secret hideouts. 

And oh, the wisdom it holds! These underwater sages can live for over 100 years and have been found in various parts of the world’s oceans, gathering tales of the sea and passing them down through generations.

9. The Macaw Parrot (Ara macao)

macaw parrot in the forest

We take flight into the vibrant world of tropical rainforests and encounter the vividly colored Macaw Parrot. 

A feathered diva takes center stage in tropical forest’s vibrant and exotic realms—the Macaw Parrot! With its kaleidoscope of colorful plumage, this flamboyant avian superstar is a walking work of art. It struts through the treetops like a fashion runway model, flaunting its extravagant ensemble with unabashed confidence. Talk about a social butterfly!

With an average lifespan of 60 to 80 years, these charismatic birds captivate us with their intelligence and remarkable vocals for most of our lifetimes.

10. The African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

african elephant between the trees

Roaming the African savannahs, the majestic African Elephant holds a special place in all of our hearts. These gentle giants can live up to 70 years, boasting remarkable intelligence and complex social structures. 

Their longevity is attributed to a combination of factors, including their large size, low predation rates, and the ability to form strong familial bonds. 

This gentle giant has mastered the art of finesse, effortlessly maneuvering its massive body with the grace of a ballerina.


Whether the chill-seeking Greenland shark or the punk-rock Red Sea Urchin, each animal on this list has a unique story, they remind us that life’s grand tapestry is woven with fleeting moments and the enduring threads of time. So, as we marvel and discover which animals live the longest, may we embrace the joy of existence and treasure every moment, just as these extraordinary animals have done for centuries untold.


By: Vytautas

Contributing Animalista

The Animalista contributors are animal people from around the world who use their writing talents to produce content that educates, entertains, and raises awareness for animal related topics.  


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