Most animals, including humans, need to eat several times a day to maintain the energy they need to survive, and they cannot survive more than a few weeks without food. However, some animals have adapted to survive in food and water shortages and can live long enough. Here are a few such animals.
Olm is among the amphibians that live in water in underground caves, and they have to put up with meager amounts of food. Studies have shown that Proteas can live up to 10 years without food.
The hump on a camel’s back is not filled with water; it is the fatty tissue that keeps the animal alive during long treks across the desert. As they burn fat in their hump, water is also released into their system, allowing them to survive without food or water for up to 40 days.
Contrary to popular belief, bears do not hibernate in winter, but they do sleep for long periods during the cold season. During this time, they can slow their metabolism by half and go up to 100 days without water or food.
Emperor penguins can survive the harshest climate in Antarctica and even raise cubs in very cold environments. Males can hatch eggs and warm cubs for months, surviving through a layer of blubber for up to 120 days without food, while females are on the lookout for sustenance.
Snakes, like all reptiles, are cold-blooded, meaning they cannot regulate their body temperature and go into a state of low energy consumption during cold weather. Many snakes burrow underground during this time, slowing their metabolism by up to 70 percent, surviving for up to a year without food.
Many frogs, being amphibians, depend on a wet environment. During periods of drought or food shortages, some species hibernate for up to 16 months, while others can survive freezing conditions, falling into a state where very little energy is used.
Spiders are great at controlling pests, but they are dependent on their prey, meaning they have to go without food for long periods of time. Many tarantula species can go months without food, and spiders of the species Steatoda bipunctata can survive more than a year without eating.
Crocodiles are among the oldest reptiles in the world, and can go without food for long periods of time, conserving energy by remaining motionless while waiting for prey. They can typically go months without food during cooler periods, and can survive up to 3 years without food.
Giant tortoises are known for their longevity. Some species of turtles in the Galapagos Islands live more than 100 years, and these reptiles can live long periods without food or water, in some cases up to a year.
Some species of hornbills, such as the mudskippers found in Australia, Africa, and South America are also known for their long lives. In times of drought, they can hibernate without food or water for up to four years, going through the process of digesting their own muscle tissue.