I would like to know how best to ask for how long an animal will live for.

Should I say:

  • How long is the lifespan of [insert animal]


  • What is the lifespan of [insert animal]

I am not too sure which to use. Does using 'how long' create repetitiveness?

In addition is it also correct to follow it up with ' Where is it at in its lifespan?' to find out how many years it has left?

One last thing, for the benefit of future reference, it would be greatly appreciated if you can suggest some alternatives for the same question, be it formal or collloquial.

1 Answer 1


Various ways of asking the longevity of an animal might be

How long is the lifespan of (insert-animal)?
What is the lifespan of (insert animal)?
How long do (insert-animal) live?
How old do (insert-animal) get?

Rereading your question, since you are at a pet shop, you can ask informally

How long will this (insert animal) be around?

and while you're at it, you will probably want to ask

How old is this (insert animal) now?

to figure out how many more years it will live.

  • Thanks, is 'what is the lifespan of...' more common than 'How king is the lifespan of...'? Also is it sentence 'where is the animal at in its lifespan?' good English?
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 9:15
  • 1
    You would not ask "how long is the lifespan?" since "lifespan" implies length.
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 9:40
  • But didn't you state in your answer that asking 'how long is the lifespan of (insert animal)' an acceptable way of asking the longevity? Also, is the sentence 'Where is it currently at in its lifespan?' awkward? Would a native speaker use such construction?
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 3:04
  • I was copying your question which is perfectly understandable and correct, I didn't want you to think is was incorrect. For "lifespan", "What is the lifespan of...?" is often used and a case when "log" would be redundant.
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 3:18
  • 1
    What's the (average) life expectancy of a cat/dog/parrot? etc. How many years can a hamster live? There are so many ways of asking.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 4:29

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