Just as mammals vary greatly in size, they also vary greatly in lifespan. Generally, smaller mammals live short lives and larger mammals live longer lives. Bats (Chiroptera) are an exception to this pattern, they are relatively small mammals that can live for one or more decades in natural conditions, considerably longer than natural lifespans of significantly larger mammals. Mammalian lifespans range from one year or less to 70 or more years in the wild. Bowhead whales may live more than 200 years.
- Grzimek, B. 1990. General Introduction. Pp. 4-5 in B Grzimek, ed. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals, Vol. 1, 1st Edition. New York: Mcgraw-Hill.