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5 animals that could survive the apocalypse

From cockroaches to mud minnows, these creatures will certainly outlive humans once the end of the world is upon us.

© YewLoon Lam/Shutterstock

By Gabbi Shaw, INSIDER

  • In the grand scheme of things, humans are pretty fragile.
  • Other animals, however, are essentially indestructible.
  • Cockroaches are the most famous example of a living creature that could make it through the apocalypse.

Humans have always been preoccupied with thoughts of the end of the world, from the biblical rapture to Y2K to the Mayan calendar ending in 2012. 

But the truth of the matter is, any number of natural disasters could take us all out, from nuclear warfare to an asteroid hitting the planet. When that happens, we might not make it out alive, but that doesn't mean life on earth will cease to exist. 

Scroll through to see these five living things, from fish to insects, will most likely ride out the apocalypse scot-free. Maybe we should learn some tips. 


Tardigrades, aka water bears, have been called "the most indestructible animal on earth." They grow to be barely more than a millimeter.

© Waltraud Grubitzsch/picture alliance via Getty Images

National Geographic bestowed the title upon these little guys. According to them, tardigrades are expected to avoid extinction for the next six billion years, until the sun blows up and becomes a red giant.

They'd be safe from asteroids, since they can live at "volcanic vents at the bottom of the ocean." Tardigrades can also survive without food or water for up to 30 years, aren't affected by temperature extremes or radiation exposure, and can even live in space.


Ants are more than prepared to handle a zombie apocalypse.

© PATRICK PLEUL/AFP/Getty Images

According to the New York Post, scientists proved that ants are better equipped to figure out if an ant among them has been infected with a pathogen or virus than humans are. Before a disease even has a chance to spread, ants will kill an infected member of their crew.

Ants can also survive in almost any climate, including the Sahara Desert. There's also a species of aquatic ants that lives in the ocean. They've got the hook up on both land and sea.

Ants are more than prepared to handle a zombie apocalypse. According to the New York Post, scientists proved that ants are better equipped to figure out if an ant among them has been infected with a pathogen or virus than humans are. Before a disease even has a chance to spread, ants will kill an infected member of their crew.


Mummichog, a type of fish, evolved so they can survive in highly toxic water.

© Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Mummichog go by a few different names, like killifish or mud minnows. Recently, it was discovered by National Geographic that some of these fish had adapted enough to survive in rivers that were 8,000 times more toxic than the initial lethal dose. Surviving nuclear pollution? Check.

In general, these fish are extremely adaptable. They can live in both fresh and salt water, and are in total control of their genome. They have the ability to turn genes on and off depending on their environment, according to NewScientist. 

Scorpions have been on the planet for hundreds of millions of years, and have shown no signs of slowing down.

© Getty/Joao Paulo Burini

Scorpions are incredibly adaptable. They can survive in deserts, forests, and even mountains. In fact, according to National Geographic, researchers have frozen scorpions overnight only to watch them thaw out and walk away perfectly fine the next morning.

Scorpions can also slow their metabolism rate to the point where they can survive on one insect for an entire year. 

Cockroaches are the classic apocalypse-friendly bug.

© Shutterstock

German cockroaches, it turns out, are inching closer and closer to invincibility, according to Fox News.

"Cockroaches developing resistance to multiple classes of insecticides at once will make controlling these pests almost impossible with chemicals alone," said one scientist. Essentially, they can't be killed with just one type of insecticide.

Besides that, cockroaches can eat anything, even rotten food, have an "expanded family of immunity genes," and can grow to be up to two inches long.

Cockroaches were reportedly seen to be scurrying around the wreckage after the atomic bombs were released in Hiroshima and Nagasaki - the Mythbusters even proved that cockroaches can survive that amount of radiation. 

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5 animals that could survive the apocalypse
From cockroaches to mud minnows, these creatures will certainly outlive humans once the end of the world is upon us.
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