What animal can live longest without drinking water?

One of the five main elements of the planet, water is necessary for all living beings and plants. Animals need fresh water for their bodies to function in a proper manner. Animals mostly hydrate themselves by drinking plenty of fresh water. They also get water from the food they eat. Water is absolutely necessary for animals in order to regulate the temperature of their bodies, for removing wastes, and for the absorption of nutrients by their body. So, which animal can live longest without drinking water?

Kangaroo Rat can live the longest without drinking water. They can usually survive without water for 3 to 5 years. They rely on seeds for their survival. The seeds help them to keep their bodies hydrated internally. Kangaroo rats can even lower their metabolism rate to prevent water loss and can secrete highly concentrated urine.

Kangaroo rat captured on a trip to jungle

Now, let’s explore some amazing facts about Kangaroo Rat:

Scientific Origin:

Kangaroo Rats are the natives to arid areas of western North America and are rodents of genus Dipodomys. They hop in a manner similar to Kangaroos, however, developed this mode of mobility on their own, like several other descendants of rodents. 


Kangaroo rats are four-toed with big hind legs, small front legs and relatively large heads with longer tails. Their fur-lined cheek pouches are used for storing food. The color of these species varies from cinnamon buff to dark grey depending on their kind. Adult kangaroo rats weigh around 70-170 grams.

Sexual dimorphism exists in all species, with males being larger than females. Among all the species of these rats, the banner-tailed kangaroo rat is the largest being six inches in body length and a tail length of eight inches.


Kangaroo rats are bipedal and can hop at a distance of 6-9 feet at a speed of 10feet/sec or 10km/hour. They are fast movers that help them to escape predation. They can change their directions very rapidly.


Kangaroo rats live in arid regions or semi-arid regions mostly on sandy soil suitable for burrowing. Their habitat can vary geographically like areas with less rainfall and humidity, with varying elevation levels like 4500 below the sea. Some of their species like Banner tailed Kangaroo Rats live in grasslands and scrublands.

Food and Fodder:

Primarily these creatures feed on seeds but can also eat vegetarian occasionally. Sometimes, they also feed on insects as well. They have storing pouches in which they store extra seeds during the period of hibernation. They harvest extra seeds in very little time so that they can stay in their burrows for a long period. This helps to conserve energy and water.

List of animals who can live longest without drinking water

Not only Kangaroo Rat, but there are some more amazing creatures who can survive without water for a certain period of time. Let’s have a glace to some top creatures on the list:

1. Desert Tortoise:

Desert tortoise

Deserts often face scarcity of water at the normal temperatures. At the time of extreme situations sometimes the conditions are even worse. Moreover, fellow beings also need to cope up with their survival.

The desert tortoise has water storage bladders. Whenever it rains or they have access to leafy greens, they fill up their bladder and store for their future needs. This is how they’re able to get through their thirst for water in extreme situations.

2. Australian water-holding frog:

Australian water holding frog in a mud puddle.

These frogs stores water in its gills, its tissues and ultimately in its bladder. This creature can double its weight by drinking water. Once full, they could stay alive without water for a period of 5 years.

3. Camel:

Camel can live upto 3 weeks without drinking water.

Camels do not store water. They actually store fat in their hump. Therefore they use fat for nourishment when food is scarce. If a camel uses fat inside the hump, the hump droops down and becomes limp. With proper food and rest, it comes back to its normal shape.

Camels do not store their water in their hump. But they drink a large amount of water at a time and further can live the longest without drinking water for around 3 weeks. This water is stored in the animal’s bloodstream.

4. Spadefoot toads

Spadefoot toad is one of the longest animal who can live without drinking water.

These animals wrap themselves around a mucous membrane and go underground to conserve water for a longer time. These frogs dug up their burrows with their sharp claws deep underground and disappear for 3 quarters of the year.

When they sense rain pouring down, they pop up to fill up their storage again

5. African Lungfish: 

African Lungfishes can live up to 5 years without drinking water

 African lungfish is an eel-like fish that usually resides in waters of swamps and marshes. 

During dry seasons, they dig up deep burrows with the help of their pelvic fins, then excrete a coating of slime to prevent water loss. These species can sleep for a suspended period of about 3-5 years without drinking or eating. They wake up when there is fresh water available.

6. Giraffe:

Giraffe caught in the middle of a jungle

Giraffes could live the longest without drinking water for 3 weeks. They consume about 5 gallons of water in one sitting and stretch up to for weeks. They do not have the water storage tanks in their bodies. However, they mostly feed on plants that have sufficient water intake and satisfy their thirst.

 7. Thorny Devil: 

Thorny Devil in the deserts of Central Australia

The thorny devil, also known as thorny dragon resides in the deserts of Central Australia. They capture the raindrops and dew during the drier weather with the help of their scaly hinges. These hinges help to trap water between their scales. The collected water is then transported under the skin to the mouth. Their tongue movements help to create water pressure to draw water to the back of the mouth.

Some desert creatures like snakes, larger frogs, wild dogs and crocodiles stores water in the form of a frog. During the dry season, Tiwi aboriginals dig out the frogs and squeeze them, storing a large amount of water into their mouth. 


From the above facts we summarize, there is a distinction in the creation of different species according to their kind and survival in the ecosystem. Water scarcity and drought are common key elements that lead other species running out of water and dehydration. Therefore species adapt themselves according to their living conditions for staying alive even in bitter circumstances.

Some species have water storage bags while some consume gallons of water at one time and could sustain for a longer period without water.

Some feed on seeds and other foods that keep the body moisturized and hydrated. 

Kangaroo rat goes on without water forever. It can live the longest without drinking water. They can die on consuming water.

Learning these amazing facts makes us wonder about some unique creations of the universe. While some can’t imagine their life without water, on the contrary, there’s another who can spend their whole life without consuming even a drop of water. 

Exploring the beautiful creations of nature and their different way could be really fascinating. While many myths still remain about how species survive in the ecosystem adapting themselves in the ecosystem. However, scientists still continue with their research of drawing epic facts about nature’s fellow beings.

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