25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (2023)

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (1)

There are some amazing animals on this planet, and some of them can live a shockingly long time—we're talking thousands of years, which makes our approximate 100-year lifespan as humans sound measly in comparison.

You may have already learned that some of these animals live a long time, such as elephants and sea turtles, but some of the animals on this list are far less common . . . and far more surprising. From black coral that lives 4,000+ years to a jellyfish thought to be "immortal," here are the 25 longest-living animals on the planet.

25 Longest-Living Animals

1. Hydra

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (2)

You may have never heard of a Hydra, but they are small invertebrates with soft bodies, which look a little like tiny jellyfish. One thing that makes them unique is that they are mostly made up of stem cells, which enable them to constantly regenerate and clone. If it wasn’t for predators and other threats, they would have the ability to live forever.

Average Life Span: Potentially Forever

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2. Turritopsis dohrnii (aka 'Immortal Jellyfish')

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (3)

Native to the Mediterranean Sea, these tiny 4.5-millimeter jellyfish can actually reverse their lifecycles. Because of this, they don’t typically die due to old age. Instead, their biggest threat is being eaten by other fish. As long as they avoid that, they can actually become immortal.

Average Life Span: Potentially Forever

3. Glass Sponge

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (4)

No, these animals aren’t really made of glass—but they sure do look like it! They are often mistaken for being a plant due to not having eyes or a mouth or a stomach, but they are living, breathing animals. To get nutrients and breath, they absorb food and oxygen from the water that surrounds them. They then will pump their waste out through their tube-shaped oscula.

Average Life Span: 11,000 Years

4. Black Coral

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (5)

While coral can live for hundreds and hundreds of years in general, Black Coral specifically, is among the oldest and can live to be thousands of years old. They thrive in deep water in tropical ecosystems, like in Hawaii. You will recognize them thanks to their jet-black, tree-like appearance.

Average Life Span: 4,000+ Years

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5. Ocean Quahog Clams

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (6)

Found burrowed in the sandy bottoms of the North Atlantic Ocean are these clams. The hard-shelled clam’s name is Native American, but it is also known by other names too, including Icelandic Cyprines, Mahogany Clams, Mahogany Quahogs, Black Quahogs, and Black Clams. This specific saltwater species has a long life—in fact, the oldest one discovered so far was found off the coast of Iceland and was 507 years old.

Average Life Span: 500+ Years

6. Greenland Sharks

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (7)

If you’re ever in the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans, you may come across one of these sharks. They are hard to miss, measuring a huge 21+ feet in length, and mostly eat fish. Some of them live to be over 500 years old, which makes them have the longest known lifespan of all vertebrates.

Average Life Span: 270 to 500+ Years

7. Tubeworms

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (8)

Did you know there are worms in the ocean? Ones called Tubeworms live in the cold depths of the sea. Unlike worms you see on land, these creatures have more of a lipstick tube shape and can grow up to eight feet long and they survive on bacteria. One reason they have such long lives is that they have few natural predators and threats.

Average Life Span: 300+ Years

8. Freshwater Pearl Mussels

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (9)

You’ll come across these mussels in rivers and streams in the United States, Canada, and Europe. However, finding one isn’t as easy as you might think because they have been endangered due to a variety of human-related factors. Even so, they have managed to become one of the longest-living animals, living hundreds of years, mostly due to their incredibly low metabolism.

Average Life Span: 280 Years

9. Bowhead Whales

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (10)

These whales call the Arctic their home. To keep warm, they have an insulating layer of blubber that can be up to 1.6 feet thick. Currently, these large mammals are categorized as endangered species, because they used to be hunted, but their population has continued to increase over the years since commercial whaling came to an end in the early 1990s.

Average Life Span: 200+ Years

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10. Red Sea Urchin

These sea creatures are remarkable. They are not only pretty, thanks to their vibrant red color, but they are known for living over 200 years old without showing any signs of aging! Scientists are able to determine their ages by measuring the leaves of carbon-14, which is called radiocarbon dating. Instead of dying from old age, they are more likely to be eaten by a predator.

Average life span: 200+ years.

11. Rougheye Rockfish

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (11)

Located near the seafloor between 170 and 660 meters (560 and 2,200 feet), is where these deep ocean fish swim around. They tend to reside in coastal waters between California and Japan and enjoy spending time hiding out in caves and crevices. And while these fish can live well past 100 years, the oldest one discovered was 205 years old.

Average Life Span: 100+ Years

12. Galapagos Giant Tortoise

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (12)

While most animals only grow in size until they are adults, these animals grow well into their adult years. They actually continue to grow until they are 40 to 50 years old and can get as big as five feet, making them the largest tortoises in the world. They also have an incredibly long lifespan too, with the record-holder being 152 years old.

Average Life Span: 100+ Years

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13. Tuatara

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (16)

A Tuatara resembles a lizard-like reptile and can be found in New Zealand. They originated during the Triassic Period and have been around for what seems like forever. One fact about them is that they contain more genes to protect against aging than any other vertebrate.

Average Life Span: 100+ Years

14. Orcas

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (17)

With their white and black appearance, there’s no doubt that these animals are beautiful. They inhabit most of the world’s oceans and can be seen swimming from the equator to the polar regions. They tend to feed on fish, penguins, seals, and other marine mammals. Their biggest predators are humans.

Average Life Span: 100 Years

15. American Lobsters

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (18)

The American Lobster’s cold environment helps prolong their lives. They tend to live in the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean, which slows down their metabolism, which in turn lets them age more slowly and live longer.

Average Life Span: 100 Years

16. The Cave Salamander

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (19)

You’d never guess it, but Salamanders are one of the longest-living land animals. Scientists believe their sluggish metabolism attributes to it. They take 15 years to mature, only lay eggs every 12 years, and hardly ever move unless when it wants to eat.

Average Life Span: 100 Years

17. Saltwater Crocodile

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (20)

These crocs are the largest living reptiles in the world. You can find males that are 20 feet long and weigh up to 2,900 pounds. They can be found living in coastal waters as well as rivers where they are able to swim back and forth between salt water and fresh water.

Average Life Span: 100 Years

18. Macaws

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (21)

Popular for their gorgeous, brightly colored feathers, these birds are members of the parrot family. They live in rainforests and their diets consist of mainly a mix of nuts and seeds. In the wild, they can live really long lives. Though, due to habitat degradation and the illegal pet trade, they are in danger of becoming extinct.

Average Life Span: 80 Years

19. Gray Whale

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (22)

Weighing in at roughly 40 tons, which is about the weight of 60 cows, is the Gray Whale. They can grow to be 40 to 50 feet long when fully grown and are 15 feet long when born. Each October they embark on a 5,000+ mile journey from the Arctic waters to the lagoons of Baja California to mate.

Average Life Span: 70+ Years

20. Cockatoos

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (23)

There are 21 species of Cockatoo. Some of the most famous ones are Pink Cockatoos, White Cockatoos, and Yellow-Cheeked Cockatoos. They can be found in tropical locations, like Australia, Tasmania, and the Philippine Islands.

Average Life Span: 70 Years

21. African Elephant

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (24)

These beauties are the largest land animals on Earth. Males can reach a weight of 14,000 pounds and grow to be 13 feet tall. Sadly, they are endangered because they have been illegally hunted by poachers for their tucks over the years.

Average Life Span: 60+ Years

22. Longfin Eels

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (25)

Native to Australia and New Zealand is the Longfin Eel. They grow extremely slowly but can reach lengths of up to eoght feet and be as heavy as 130 pounds. Despite their size, these animals are impressive swimmers and can swim up waterfalls!

Average Life Span: 60+ Years

23. Greater Flamingos

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (26)

The Greater Flamingos are one of six different flamingo species and the most common. In the wild, they have a lifespan average of 35 years due to predators, but whilst in captivity, they live much longer. The oldest known one was named Greater and lived to be 83 years old while living at the Adelaide Zoo.

Average Life Span: 60+ Years

24. Sturgeons

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (27)

Some of the earliest known fossils of this fish date back 200 million years ago. There are 27+ species of Sturgeon around the world, two of which are native to California. They stand apart from other fish due to their bony structures and shark-like shape.

Average Life Span: 50 Years

25. Japanese Koi Fish

25 of the Longest-Living Animals on the Planet—We’re Talking 11,000 Years or More! (28)

These fish are beautiful in appearance and have a mixture of orange, black, and white scales. Their species are believed to date back to early 19th-century Japan, where they were typically bred by rice farmers. You can even determine how old one is by counting the growth rings on their scales. The oldest one on record was 226 years old, however, their average life expectancy is usually not that long.

Average Life Span: 40+ Years

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