Top 10 shortest living animals in the world

shortest living animals in the world

Change in metabolism, brain to body ratio, environment, and many other unknown factors determine the lifespan of animals. Some animals live for 150+ years and some others only live for few hours. Check out the list of 10 shortest living animals in the world.

10 Domestic Rabbits, 8-12 Years

domestic rabbit

Rabbits are small mammal live in various parts of the world. The domestic rabbits only have an average lifespan of 8-12 years. They found in different size and colors. But this lovely species only have a lifespan of few years. Fat deposition and uterine cancer are the main diseases that affect domestic rabbits. Female rabbits are more prone to these diseases than males. They may die soon without proper medicare and feeding

The feeding of a high amount of root vegetables and fruits also lead to many health problems in rabbits. They also need a high volume of water every day. Rabbits are prolific breeders because of their shorter lifespan.

9 Guinea Pigs, 4 Years

guinea pig

Guinea pigs are cute, lovable, social animals native to South Africa. Sadly, their lifespan is limited to a short period of 4 years. Guinea pigs easily affected by series of diseases. You need to feed this cute pet at a right interval of time.

The veterinary check-up at the right time is also a must for guinea pigs. With proper care, you could extend the lifespan of guinea pigs up to 4 years. But it is quite hard to keep guinea pigs from the illness like scurvy, bronchitis, and bumblefoot.

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8 Mosquitofish, 2 years



Mosquitofish is one of freshwater fishes native to the United States. They only live up to two years. But mosquitofishws live in captivity show longer life than those live in saline water. The female fishes also have slightly larger lifespan than males.

Even though the lifespan in saline water is short, mosquitofishes have some advantage in living there. Because not all predator fishes can live in saline water.

7 Chameleon, 1 Year


Panther chameleons only have a lifespan of 1 year. In fact, Pather chameleon has the shortest lifespan among reptiles and chameleon family. Panther chameleons are native to Northern and Eastern parts of Madagascar. They show rapid mating behavior because of their shorter life span.

Interestingly, the entire adult chameleons disappear before the next generation emerges out from the eggs. The rapid color changing is the most noticeable characteristic of chameleons. So that they can easily blend into the natural environment. The diet of chameleons mainly includes crickets and worms.

6 House Mouse, 1 years


The average lifespan of house mouse is 1 year. But predators like cats and poisoning also could end their life at anytime. House mouses are also prone to many health problems during their growing stage. They are also prolific breeders because of shorter life span.

5 Dragon Fly, 4 months


There are 5000 different species of dragonflies in the world. The maximum lifespan of dragonflies is about 4 months. But most of the dragonflies won’t live that much time because they can be easily eaten by spiders, birds, lizards and frogs. The strong wind and other harsh climate conditions also stop them from emerge out as a dragonfly from larvae form.

Dragonflies also can’t fly easily after the completion of larvae stage. This condition makes them to easily eat by reptiles and birds. They also can’t live longer in cold conditions.

4 Houseflies, 4 Weeks


Houseflies are the most common and one of the irritating insects that found across your house. The lifetime of houseflies is limited to the only a short period of 4 weeks. The houseflies live in households generally have more lifespan than one live in wild environments. Within their shorter life cycle, every female housefly lay up to 1000 eggs.

3 Drone Ants, 3 Weeks

drone ant


Drone ants are the male members within an ant colony. They have the only life cycle of 3 weeks. Drone ants follow a lazy behavior, never work much. The ant colonies are always establish by females. Interestingly, drone ants died fast once they mated with females. Thus, drone ants play an important role in the existence of ant colonies within their shorter life cycle.

2 Gastrotrichs, 3 Days



Gastrotrichs are one of marine microorganisms that live in the marine environments. They grow up to a maximum size of 3 millimeters. The life circle of Gastrotrich is limited to just 3 days.

Gastrotrichs have transparent body structure and swim along with currents. Gastrotrichs also attach to other water bodies using hundreds of adhesive tubes on the lower part of the bodies. Gastrotrichs have both male and female organs for reproduction.

1 Mayflies, 24 hours


Mayflies have the shortest lifespan on Earth. Their life last only for 24 hours. Mayflies also called as ‘one-day insects’ because of their shortest life span. There are 2500 different species of mayflies in the world. In fact, some members of mayfly family die within few hours.

Mayflies spend most of their lifetime as nymphs. The one and only purpose of mayflies are a reproduction. Within this short period of life, they form groups and dance together on all available surfaces.

  • Ryane

    I’d just like to say that the last photo is not a may fly. It’s a damsel fly. :)

    • Idgaf

      The article is kind of deceitful as well. May Flies may only survive for a short time during their adult forms but certain species stay in the larval form for up to two years.

      It’s like when people say certain species of bamboo can grow x inches per day when they’re only describing the rate at which the shoots/canes mature. The rhizome growth happens underground and while some species are aggressive growers they don’t grow nearly as fast as some people would lead you to believe.

  • Zac Paul

    Noooooo!!!…The entry about house rabbits is inaccurate!!! This is not good info for prospective rabbit pet parents and is potentially misleading!!! With good care, a healthy house rabbit can easily live for a decade!!

    The 6-7 year lifespan is an archaic figure from over 15 years ago. Today, 8-13 years is more appropriate. This increase has come up thanks to a better understanding of dietary requirements, medical care, and hindgut function, and will likely increase further in the future. IIRC the oldest living rabbit is around 17 years.

    As for dietary requirements & health, the bigger factor here is the quality of the pellet food and timothy hay that forms the core dietary pillars. While minimizing the feeding of root vegetables and some fruits are important, these are less significant dietary issues compared to the most important pillars, which have been neglected here. One thing that plays a huge role in house rabbit lifespan (and health) is the owner’s competency in rabbit nutrition. Some foods are top tier where as others contain potentially toxic ingredients (e.g., certain nuts.)

    From an evolutionary perspective, wild rabbits are prolific breeders because they are Nature’s Dinner. Like many other domesticated animals, there is a huge difference in the lifespan of wild versus domesticated.

    • Jerkel

      Yeah, 8-13 years sounds about right. I had a pet rabbit that lived to be 14.

  • Remigio Llaguno (Toy)

    The short happy life of a Mayfly (#1),but isn’t it so unfair?They spend their last minutes on earth dancing.If I could collect their tears and record their voices it would be magical

  • Ajax Smith

    It isn’t strictly true that mayfly have the shortest lives. It is just their final adult stage that lives for a short while. They spend much longer in their nymph stage.

  • moistworm

    I conducted a study once as this intrigued me. I caught a freshly-hatched mayfly one afternoon and , to be sure I recorded the time I caught it (exactly 3:08pm) , the following afternoon I watched the insect intently as mid afternoon approached and ….sure enough, at 3:08pm it dropped dead ! Exactly 24 hours after I caught it… Talk about accurate time-keeping

  • JoCarp

    The note about Panther chameleons is completely inaccurate. Flat out false on all counts. They live 5-7 years (mine is a year and a half and very young and spry still). They do NOT change colors to blend in, it is for thermoregulation and mood displays and they most certainly don’t die off before their offspring hatches. This whole article is obviously a very poor attempt at quick fact searches and shock factor since I’ve seen other posts about how inaccurate it is.