Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Superstar Seniors

Posted by  //  February 19, 2024  //  Articles, Creature Feature

Being as this issue is geared towards our community’s senior citizens, I thought it would be fitting to feature some amazing animals known for their longevity.  Some may surprise you!

Certain types of parrots have a remarkably long life span.  To date, three different parrots hold the record for longest lived birds.  Cookie, a Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, lived to be 83 years old; Poncho, a Green-winged Macaw, survived 92 years; and Charlie, a Blue-and-Gold Macaw reportedly lived to the ripe old age of 114.  There’s even an account of a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo named Cocky Bennett that lived for 120 years, but while this is quite possible, it can’t be verified.  (Annabel, the pretty Timneh Gray parrot pictured here, is comparatively but a youngster at 24 years old!)

Tortoises are renowned for their longevity, and one in particular—a Seychelles Giant Tortoise named Jonathan—is believed to be the Earth’s oldest living reptile.  Born around 1832, Jonathan recently turned 191 years young on December 4th, his official given birthday.  The wizened tortoise predates the U.S. Civil War, automobiles, telephones, lightbulbs, and postage stamps—and has lived through 40 U.S. Presidents!

Many of the planet’s longest-lived creatures dwell in our oceans, including Bowhead whales, which are the planet’s longest-lived mammals.  Based on harpoon artifacts found in deceased individuals, scientists were able to prove that Bowhead whales can live well over 100 years, and possibly over 200 years!  

Other long-lived ocean dwellers include Red Sea Urchins, with a lifespan of 100-200 years, and Freshwater Pearl Mussels, the oldest recorded as 280 years old.  Truly astounding is a recent discovery of a 400-year old female Greenland Shark that set a new record for the oldest living vertebrate!   

Article by Margie Manthey
Photo by Jennifer Gormley

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