Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Lifespan of Animals

Last month, I read about the death of Debby, a 42-year-old polar bear at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Polar bears normally live to about 20 years of age in the wild, so Debby did all right. Though you do have to wonder if 42 years of captivity is better than 20 years of freedom.

So ... how long do animals live? How long does a grizzly bear live? Or a tiger? Or a hummingbird? Apparently, a bit longer than I expected. It's difficult to track just how old an animal can get in the wild, but here's some statistics gathered about those in zoos:

Grizzly bear - 32 years

Horse - 50 years

Chipmunk - 12 years

Tiger - 25 years

Swan - 102 years

Hummingbird - 8 years


I'm surprised at the possible life span of horses, chipmunks and swans. Does this mean the chipmunk that lives in my backyard will be relying on me for peanuts for another ten years? What will happen to him if I move?


If you're interested in reading about Debby, check this out.

9 comments:

NuclearToast said...

Some of those lifespans really surprised me. I guess there's hope for Raggs having a pet hummingbird!

Lynn Sinclair said...

Me too, NT. A pet hummingbird would be neat -- especially with her cat(s). I met a man once who commented that hummingbird had no feet -- that they couldn't land (other than on their bottom, I suppose). He was a older man and seemed so very sure of his "fact", that I didn't have the heart to correct him.

Georgie said...

Never knew how long a swan actually lives. But it's obviously longer than most humans.

Interesting.

Heidi the Hick said...

Horse lives to age 50??? I have heard of it but the oldest I've ever known personally was at least 40. And he looked it too! My vet said he was the oldest horse he'd worked on.

The American Quarter Horse Association keeps track of horse ages, I've heard. Just recently they had a 47 year old mare on record.

Parrots live over a century, which apparently is a problem because they bond with their human mate and often find themselves "widowed." How sad!!

Lynn Sinclair said...

Well, Georgie and Heidi, considering I gathered the statistics from the Internet, there's a possibility that swans and horses don't live as long as 50 or 100 years. Just can't trust that Internet.

Raggedy Angst said...

OK, they have feet, but I've heard they can't walk, they can only perch. Their legs apparently aren't strong enough to sustain walking. I'm currently fighting with the weather to keep my year-'rounders in un-iced sugar water. Wish us luck!

Raggedy Angst said...

OK, they have feet, but I've heard they can't walk, they can only perch. Their legs apparently aren't strong enough to sustain walking. I'm currently fighting with the weather to keep my year-'rounders in uniced sugar water. Wish us luck!

Lynn Sinclair said...

I just checked, Raggs, and apparently they do have very weak legs. So there you go -- the old man was half right (and I was half wrong).

Here's a link about winter feeding of hummingbirds:

Hummingbirds

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