The Lifespan of Popular Pets
One of the most important things to consider when selecting a pet is its average lifespan. How long you can commit to any one animal should be the ultimate limiting factor, as most pets abandoned in adulthood never find a new home.
Below, in ascending order, are popular pets and their average lifespans. If there are several species of a pet with drastically different lifespans, they will be further broken up.
Mice are easy to care for and can bond with their owners. Their small size and low demands make them popular first pets.
Mice are not long-lived, but with proper diets and care, they can hit a maximum of four or five years.
Average Lifespan: 1 - 3 years
Fish are not the most cuddly of pets, but they are beautiful without demanding too much care. If you can keep the tank clean and the fish fed, they're usually happy.
Believe it or not, goldfish are very long-lived and can survive for over 25 years. The fact that many only live for a few years is due to poor care. Other fish, like Bettas, only live for a few years.
Average Lifespan: 1 - 10 years
Hamsters are engaging little rodents that, like mice, are easy to care for. Hamsters are famous for their bulging cheeks as they store food.
They are relatively short-lived. Dwarf hamsters generally do not exceed two years, while most regular hamsters are very lucky to make it to 4.
Average Lifespan: 2 - 3 years
These desert mice are perky and social, making their endearing hopping a lovely sight to their owners. They are quiet, hardy, and relatively odorless, making them great first pets.
The gerbil is fairly short-lived, although some can reach six years old.
Average Lifespan: 2 - 4 years
Rats are the more personable and intelligent cousins of mice, although they require more exercise and interaction to keep happy. Rats are alert, curious, and friendly. They enjoy spending time with their owners.
Rats can live to be as old as seven, given proper care.
Average Lifespan: 2 - 4 years
Hedgehogs are prickly, adorable little creatures with a hard disposition. They are relatively easy to look after.
Hedgehogs can grow as old as eight, making them one of the longest-lived pets for their size.
Average Lifespan: 4 - 6 years
These whistling little rodents are friendly and a bit bigger than mice, hamsters, and gerbils. They are social creatures and enjoy time with their owners.
They are one of the more complex rodents, but they make up for the more difficult care with longer lifespans.The oldest recorded guinea pig was 14 years old.
Average Lifespan: 5 years
Ferrets are not rodents, instead belonging to the same family as weasels and badgers. They have a slightly musky odor, and are extremely sociable and playful. Ferrets need regular exercise, and then sleep approximately 20 hours per day.
Due to their curious nature and the need for several hours outside the cage every day, ferrets are accident-prone creatures. They are also prone to cancer. A well-bred and well looked after ferret can live to be over ten years old.
Average Lifespan: 5 - 7 years.
Like snakes, lizards require careful environmental manipulation to keep healthy. There are a multitude of species to choose from, ranging from tiny geckos to enormous monitor lizards.
Lifespans vary wildly. One of the shortest-lived captive lizards is the chameleon, which usually tops out at a paltry three years. By contrast, geckos can live into their 30's.
Bearded Dragon: 5 - 7 years
Gecko: 8 - 12 years
Water Dragon: 10 - 15 years
Iguana: 13 - 17 years
Savannah Monitor: 10 - 12 years
The oldest domesticated animal, dogs truly are man's best friend. Loyal, loving, and playful, dogs require regular exercise but make every moment of it worth it to their owners.
Dog lifespans depend largely on breed, with smaller dogs making it into their twenties and the giant breeds lucky to hit ten. Proper health care and diet are also essential for extending a dog's life.
Average Lifespan: 6 - 15 years
Rabbits are one of the most popular pets today, due to their cute appearance, docility, and fairly low-maintenance care. Although somewhat skittish, many rabbits can bond with their owners and enjoy human contact.
Rabbits kept indoors can live into their teens, so long as they are given proper health care and food.
Average Lifespan: 8 - 12 years
Snakes are difficult animals to keep and require a lot of work. However, in the hands of a knowledgeable owner they can make exciting and exotic pets.
Snakes require careful environmental control and can be very finicky creatures. Larger snakes can live to be over 30 years old under proper conditions.
Average Lifespan: 10 - 15 years
One of the most popular pets, cats provide a good balance between intelligence, independence, and sociability. They are wonderful companions, litter trainable, and not too demanding on their owners.
A cat's lifespan varies depending on its living conditions. Indoor cats tend to live much longer due to a limited exposure to predators and disease. Cats can live into their twenties if protected.
Average Lifespan: 10 - 15 years
Being highly intelligent and fairly small, birds are popular pets for those that can stand the noise.
Most species of parrots are exceptionally long-lived, with reports of birds reaching and surpassing 100 years old.
Lovebirds: 10 years
Parakeet: 10 - 15 years
Amazon: 20 - 30 years
Cockatoo: 30 - 40 years
Macaw: 30 - 50 years
African Grey: 40 - 50 years
The aquatic turtle and land-dwelling tortoise makes a great pet for those who can control their environment and keep them safe.
Turtles can live up to 30 years, and tortoises can feasibly live for hundreds. Common pet tortoises, however, will live to be about 70 at a general maximum.
Turtles: 10 - 20 years
Tortoises: 50 - 60 years
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