What animal has the best luck?

Luck is a complicated concept that can be difficult to quantify or measure objectively. However, there are some animals that do seem to experience remarkably good fortune and avoid pitfalls that commonly plague other species. When evaluating which animal has the “best luck,” factors like lifespan, predators, food availability, and health challenges can provide insight. Additionally, anecdotes about particular species beating the odds and overcoming difficult circumstances might point towards them being “lucky.” Still, luck is relative and making definitive determinations is problematic. Some metrics and examples are more illuminating than others when pondering this questions.

Long Lifespans

One factor that could indicate an animal has good luck is an exceptionally long lifespan. If an animal regularly lives for decades, it suggests they have found ways to avoid natural threats and fatal mishaps that claim the lives of similar creatures much quicker. Some examples of animals with notably long lifespans include:

  • The Greenland shark – This shark species is estimated to live over 200 years. Avoiding predation, accidents, disease and other calamities for two centuries indicates pretty remarkable luck.
  • Aldabra giant tortoises – These massive tortoises often live over 100 years in the wild. Their sturdy bodies protect them and let them endure for incredibly long periods.
  • Tuataras – These ancient reptiles from New Zealand can live for over 100 years. Their sharp senses help them avoid multiple hazards over their long lifespans.

The longevity of these creatures suggests they have an innate luck and resilience encoded in their DNA. Their anatomy, instincts, and other natural gifts seemingly allow them to minimize threats and flourish for decades and even centuries – far longer than the lifespans of many fellow creatures.

Low Predators

An animal that lacks major predators and is not a common prey item for others in its ecosystem could also be considered highly fortunate. Without having to regularly watch for hunters aiming to kill and eat them, animals can focus their energy on other endeavors like finding food, mating, and parental care. Some animals with minimal predators that may have “luck on their side” due to this factor include:

  • Kakapo – This large flightless parrot lacks any native land predators in its island New Zealand habitat. With only airborne threats to watch for, it faces less day-to-day peril than most birds.
  • Dragon’s Blood Tree – As an inanimate object firmly rooted in place, this iconic plant is safe from predation. It enjoys plentiful sunlight and suffers minimal harm in its island environment.
  • Elephant Seal – Thanks to its imposing size and thick skin, adult elephant seals have virtually no natural predators to fear when on land. Their luck holds on land at least.

By not diverting much energy towards vigilantly watching out for predators, these predator-free animals can spend more time on self-maintenance and enjoyment compared to prey species. Their luck seems higher with regard to basic survival.

Readily Available Food

An abundant and reliable food source can also be a major stroke of luck for certain animal species. Animals that have ready access to nutrients have to spend less time and effort hunting down their next meal. This gives them more opportunities to rest and focus on other aspects of life besides their next snack. Some examples of animals with reliably plentiful food sources include:

  • Hummingbirds – These tiny birds have the good fortune of accessing nectar from specialized flowers. This high-energy food fuels their metabolisms and helps them thrive.
  • Panda bears – Pandas express luck in their unique ability to digest and subsist almost entirely on fibrous bamboo. This abundant plant provides them with ready meals.
  • Dung beetles – By laying their eggs inside the plentiful dung of herbivores like elephants, dung beetles ensure food will literally surround their offspring once they hatch.

Having food readily available seems to be a common stroke of luck for a number of species. Without having to hunt extensively or travel far, they can easily access calories and nutrition.

Few Health Issues

An animal that rarely gets sick or contracts debilitating diseases could also be considered highly fortunate compared to disease-prone species. Good health allows animals to fully engage with their environments and achieve their maximum potential. Some animals that seem lucky regarding health include:

  • Naked Mole Rats – These rodents have unusually low rates of cancer. Their hyaluronan-rich skin may help prevent tumors.
  • Sharks – With powerful immune systems, sharks rarely get sick. They exhibit remarkable resilience.
  • Bats – Bats harbor many viruses yet display few symptoms themselves. Their luck in avoiding illness is notable.

Staying healthy and avoiding pathogens and disorders can definitely be a matter of luck sometimes. These animals seem to have physiologies that lend themselves to good fortune in having minimal health problems.

Overcoming Odds

Apart from inborn traits that tend to increase luck, some animals gain notoriety for beating the odds in specific situations. Overcoming long challenges and improbable events hints at unusual luck at work. Examples include:

  • An Asian elephant named Motola got separated from her herd for 12 days but survived until being rescued despite elephants normally requiring near-constant water access.
  • A cat named Genie fell 32 stories from an apartment building but survived and only needed a few weeks to fully recover from her injuries.
  • A gray whale nicknamed Varvara was found emaciated and entangled in fishing gear but was nursed back to health and eventually released by rescuers.

The luck of these creatures to get through their respective ordeals relatively unscathed demonstrates that fortune can sometimes show up in isolated incidents. Specific animals may have remarkable luck just at certain crucial moments.

Measuring and Quantifying Luck

While anecdotal examples and survival advantages provide clues about which animals have the best luck, attempting to definitively quantify luck poses challenges. There is no agreed upon scale or unit to measure how much luck a particular animal possesses. Some approaches that may provide insight include:

  • Calculating statistical odds of survival and reproduction rates for a species.
  • Comparing lifespan averages between similar species.
  • Estimating predation risk based on number and ferocity of predators.
  • Assessing availability and stability of food sources.
  • Surveying frequency and severity of health disorders.

Combining this sort of data could produce a luck assessment metric. But variability within species and differing environments would have to be accounted for in a truly rigorous analysis. Isolating the influence of luck alone on an animal’s life outcomes is difficult.

Role of Perspective

When evaluating which animals are the luckiest, perspective plays a major role. An animal may seem quite fortunate from a human point of view but less so if we imagine the world from the animal’s standpoint. Some examples include:

  • Pigs raised for food live short lives filled with confinement. But they’re shielded from starvation, predators, and temperature extremes.
  • Wild animals may enjoy more freedoms but also endure injury, hunger, and weather exposure. Captive animals avoid these downsides.
  • Elephants in zoos receive veterinary care but lack large roaming areas. Conservation centers provide space but less intense care.

Determining whether an animal leads a charmed life relies heavily on subjective judgments related to what we consider ideal living conditions. The animal’s own preferences are difficult to incorporate fully.

Role of Instinct

When considering luck, the role of animals’ innate abilities and instincts also merits attention. Behaviors that seem lucky may stem from evolved adaptations rather than chance. For instance:

  • Birds migrating before winter may reflect inborn time cues rather than luck in timing.
  • Salmon swimming from saltwater to ancestral freshwater breeding grounds involves imprinted navigation.
  • Subterranean animals avoiding surface predators relies on instinctive burrowing and sheltering urges.

Discerning what proportion of an animal’s fortunes can be credited to luck versus innate skills and biology poses challenges. But it seems many animals are “lucky” thanks to evolved advantages.

Luck Across the Animal Kingdom

Every animal species faces advantages and disadvantages in its environmental niche. But when considering markers like the below, some species do seem “luckier” overall:

Animal Long lifespan Few predators Readily available food Good health Beating odds
Elephants X X X X
Deer X
Hippos X X X
Hyenas X X
Sloths X X
Cats X X X
Cockroaches X X X
Zebras X X

Based on these criteria, animals like elephants, cockroaches and cats seem to experience good fortune in multiple areas that influence survival and quality of life. Species with many checked boxes appear luckier overall, though judgments still involve subjectivity.

What makes an animal lucky?

In summary, numerous factors contribute to certain animals seeming “luckier” than others:

  • Long lifespans avoiding premature death
  • Minimal predators decreasing external threats
  • Reliable access to food aiding survival
  • Good health preventing disease and disorders
  • Beating statistical odds in isolated incidents

But quantifying luck remains challenging. And species considered lucky from a human perspective may not actually feel fortunate themselves. Still, relative comparisons highlight animals that do seem fortunate in several life circumstances.


Pinpointing definitively which animal has the best luck appears impossible. Luck depends heavily on situation and perspective. However, elephants, sharks, tortoises, cockroaches and other species seem to experience good fortune in multiple important areas like longevity, food, and health. Certain animals’ innate skills also generate luck indirectly. And isolated incidents reveal how some creatures beat improbable odds, if only temporarily. While luck remains nebulous, some mix of statistics, anecdotes and instinct gives clues about which animals fortune seems to favor most frequently.

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