How long do animals live?

Well it’s another Friday and those of you reading this are probably already thinking about beer o’clock or making plans for the upcoming weekend. With any luck, you’ll be surrounded by a group of friends, colleagues or family, no doubt talking about science and how amazing it has made life…

Point being that every so often, you might be sitting in the pub, knocking back some brewskies (yes I occasionally talk like an American), sharing little bites of knowledge you picked up along the way. Like that the circumference of your pint glass is longer than the height of the glass. That there exists an Asian Bearcat (called a Binturong) that emits the smell of warm, buttery popcorn. That if pelicans have twins, one of the chicks will often kill the other.

Okay, clearly I’m on an animal tangent. Perhaps it’s because last weekend, I played tour guide at the zoo. I love the zoo and there are so many interesting things that animals do and in some cases, there’s an air of mystery about the animals. Like the Giant Tortoise.

Giant tortoise nom nom nom! Image by Lohb

Giant tortoise nom nom nom! Image by Lohb

Whenever someone passes the Giant Tortoise exhibit at the zoo, they no doubt have a discussion with friends about how old it is or how old they can grow to. Some say 100 years, others say more. There have been some stories of Queen Victoria sending turtles as gifts in the 1800s, some of which are still alive today (apparently, Queen Vicky seemed to like engraving on the tortoise’s shell).

There was also the intriguing case of a very old tortoise named Harriet at the Australia zoo. She has never had children or a partner, is apparently over 100 years old, was found by Charles Darwin, is gender confused and some time ago, had a brief stint as a lesbian.

So in light of the age discussion of the Giant Tortoise, I thought I would share you this timeline of ‘How Long Animals Live‘, which does put old Harriet and the rest of the Giant Tortoises way older than other animals. Some other curiosities is that earthworms can live longer than foxes, canaries older than lions and geese much older than crocodiles. Have a look and let me know what you think. It certainly makes me think twice about relating the age of an animal, simply to how big it is…

Very cool infographic courtesy of this place

Very cool infographic courtesy of this place

Over to you:

  • Do you like to chat science over a beer with friends?
  • If so, what kind of science?
  • Which do you think will win in a race- a giant tortoise or an earth worm?

About Noby Leong

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