Each type of animal has a different life expectancy; some are quite surprising.

Of course we'd like our favorite pets to live forever, but that's not how nature works.

Most people are familiar with the life expectancies of dogs (about seven years to late teens, depending on size and breed) and cats (early teens to late 20s), but did you know that hamsters only live two to three years? There's good reason for this, though; with a gestation period of only 14 days, hamsters would cover every square inch of the earth if they lived much longer. On the other side of the spectrum, some tortoises easily surpass the 100-year mark.

Following are the life expectancies of some common and exotic pets:

Parrots: These resilient birds live to their 50s or 60s and oftentimes will outlive their owners.

Cockatiels: Marc's cockatiel, Tido, is 25 -- and he knows of another one that lived to 32.

Pigeons and doves: Some of these birds will live to 30.

Bunnies: Living eight to 12 years is not unusual for a bunny.

Ferrets: Ferrets have a very high metabolism and can burn out quickly, typically only living about six to eight years.

Bearded dragons: This lizard can easily live 10, sometimes 15 years old.

Fish: Fish have a reputation for only living a short time, but Marc knows of several goldfish and koi that have survived well into their 20s, as well as a few tropical fish that have lived six to 10 years.


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