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You may have wondered when you have seen an animal how long they live. Generally, the smaller an animal is, the shorter the lifespan, but this is not always the case.

This list will show you which animals live only 5 minutes and, incredibly, which species could live forever.

Mayfly – 5 minutes

One of the animals on this list that doesn’t even have time to eat, the life of a mayfly is between 5 minutes for a female or up to 24 hours for a male. Just long enough to reproduce. They are the shortest living insect and animal.

Drone ant – 2 weeks

Although you may see these flying around, the drone ant is only alive for 14 days.

Adult housefly – 4 weeks

If you have one of these in your warm house, they may live longer, but most houseflies are only around for a month.


Bees – 4-5 weeks

One of the hardest working animals on this list, bees spend all their time alive trying to improve the hive and the colony.

Mosquito – 2 months

While you may think this is two months too long, you may be happy to know that males only live for ten days.

Dwarf pygmy goby – 2 months

The shortest living fish in the world, the dwarf pygmy goby lives for only two months.

Dragonfly – 4 months

One of my favourite insects, it is a shame that they only live for a third of the year.

Muller’s Giant Sunda Rat – 8 months

Muller’s giant Sunda rat is the shortest living mammal and can live for about eight months.

Panther chameleon – 1 year

Although some species can live up to 20 years, the panther chameleon generally lives for little over a year, making it the shortest living reptile.

Blue-ringed octopus – 2 years

One of the most deadly animals in the world, the male blue-ringed octopus dies soon after mating, while the female lives long enough to see the eggs hatch.

Hedgehog – 3 years

Although hedgehogs can live up to 10 years, most don’t make it past three due to predators.

Lion – 14 years

As the King of the jungle, you may expect lions to live longer, but disease and lack of food are constant threats to wild lions.

Tiger – 15 years

Although much bigger than most house cats, tigers have the same life expectancy of around 15 years.

Cicada – 17 years

Although they may only be seen for two months above ground, some species live underground for 17 years.

King cobra – 20 years

The King of the snake world, King cobra, are solitary animals, only meeting up with others to mate.

Giraffe – 25 years

Because of its size, the giraffe can live up to 25 years with very few predators.

Flamingo – 30 years

Although other bird species live longer, the flamingo still has an impressive lifespan of 30 years.

Gorilla – 35 years

As the largest primate globally, male gorillas can live up to 40 years.

Rhinoceros – 40 years

A protected rhino in the wild can reach a life expectancy of 40 years. However, poaching can severely reduce this.


Chimpanzee – 45 years

The chimpanzee has a lifespan that was similar to humans before modern medicine.

Do you know what the main characteristics of primates are?  Find out here

Termite Queen – 50 years

The longest living insect is the termite queen, known to live up to 50 years.

Killer whale – 50-60 years

50-60 years is an average for killer whales to live. Unlike most animals on this list, females often live much longer, sometimes up to 100 years.

Elephant – 70 years

An elephant never forgets, and their life expectancy of 70 years means they remember for a long time.

Blue whale – 90 years

Although not the longest living mammal, some blue whales can live for over a century.

Red sea urchin – 200 years

Due to their regenerative abilities, some red sea urchins are believed to be over 200 years old.

Aldabra giant tortoise – 200 years

The Aldabra giant tortoise is the longest living reptile on earth.

Bowhead whale – 220 years

The longest living mammal, the bowhead whale, can live for over two centuries.

Greenland shark – 400 years

The Greenland shark is the longest living fish on earth, living up to 400 years.

Ocean quahog claim – 507 years

Some are thought to be older than 507, but this is the oldest clam on record.

Immortal jellyfish – forever

An animal that lives up to its name, the immortal jellyfish, matures and reproduces before transforming back to its juvenile state and starting again.