Counting down 10 long-living animals

10. African elephant

Life expectancy: 60-70 years

Natural predator: Lions (occasionally)

Place of origin: Africa

Not only do elephants live long, they also have a very good memory. They can remember incidents and they can identify humans they have interacted with before. Although lions are the elephant’s natural predator, humans hunting for ivory are their biggest enemies.

9. Tuatara

Life expectancy: 60-100 years

Natural predator: Large birds of prey

Place of origin: New Zealand

Except for two of the tuatara species, the other tuatara family members went extinct about 60 million years ago. The tuatara is not a lizard, but the only survivor of the order Rhynchocephalia who roamed the earth 200 million years ago.

8. Macaw parrot

Life expectancy: 70-80 years

Natural predator: Large cats, eagles and hawks

Place of origin: Central and Southern America

There are about 20 different species of macaw parrots and some of these birds are critically endangered. Originally from rainforests, these big birds are well sought after as pets, as they are both beautiful and intelligent.

7. Koi fish

Life expectancy: Up to 100 years

Natural predator: Cats and other carnivores

Place of origin: Japan

Their history is as colourful as the variations of colour that they are available in. Around 200BC the Chinese took black carp, or Magoi, into Japan. The Japanese then bred the Koi according to the naturally occurring mutation, resulting in the lovely colours we see today.

6. Greenland shark

Life expectancy: Over 100 years

Natural predator: None, he is an apex predator

Place of origin: Arctic and North Atlantic

This one-tonne-fish eats just about anything that crosses his path in the icy waters. Whether dead or alive, the Greenland shark might eat it. At 6.4m, he has a huge appetite. His defence is that his flesh is poisonous to other living beings.

5. Galapagos giant tortoise

Life expectancy: Over 100 years

Natural predator: Hawks eat their eggs and young

Place of origin: Galapagos Islands

The world’s largest tortoise species is huge, weighing more than 230kg and measuring more than 1.5m in length. Due to his slow metabolism, he can go without food and water for about one year. Carrying such a heavy shell is hard work and this tortoise easily sleeps 16 hours a day.

4. Red Sea urchin

Life expectancy: Over 100 years

Natural predator: Large fish, crabs, eels, humans, sea otters, birds

Place of origin: North Eastern Pacific Ocean

The Red Sea urchin feeds on algae and seaweed from rocks and it makes sense then that his mouth is at the bottom of his body. He has five teeth and his body is covered with hard spines. Specimens of 200 years old have been found.

3. Bowhead whale

Life expectancy: 200 years

Natural predator: Killer whales

Place of origin: Arctic and sub-Arctic waters

The bowhead whale is at home in freezing water, as he has a 50cm ‘blanket’ of blubber to protect him from the cold. Weighing up to 100 tonnes, it is no wonder that only packs of killer whales has a chance to kill a bowhead whale.

2. Clam

Life expectancy: Older than 500

Natural predator: Snails, eels, fish and starfish

Place of origin: Oceans all over the world

There are over 15,000 species of clams in the world, of which only 150 species can be consumed by humans. They live in the sand, upside down, and they eat algae and small organisms that they filter out of the water.

1. Immortal jellyfish

Life expectancy: Immortal

Natural predator: Various types of fish, sea turtles and other jellyfish

Place of origin: Mediterranean Sea

In all reality these jellyfish can die, but when they get old, they can develop new cell types in an intricate process. In this way, they reproduce themselves. They eat a variety of other small organisms in the water, and even other jellyfish.