Discover 5 Animals (Other Than Cockroaches) That Can Survive a Nuclear Armageddon

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Updated: May 24, 2023
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Humans would be in serious trouble IF a global nuclear war ever broke out, and we’re acting pretty carefree and nihilist about this. Sadly, we lack the radiation resistance necessary to survive a nuclear explosion, and most of us would cease to exist in the Armageddon of fire and fury. Giving a shout-out to the animals that can truly afford to be carefree because they would survive a nuclear disaster is only fitting. These creatures are, for lack of a better phrase, “sturdy as heck.”

These animals can endure unusually high radiation or starvation levels (or both), demonstrating that life will continue on Earth even if the entire planet becomes engulfed in a chaotic nuclear stew. But what are these animals that can survive a nuclear Armageddon? This article lists five animals with the best survival skills and other interesting facts.

5 Animals (Other Than Cockroaches) That Can Survive a Nuclear Armageddon

1. Scorpions

incredible scorpion facts

Scorpions can endure high levels of ultraviolet (UV) solar radiation.

©I Wayan Sumatika/

One of the toughest creatures on the planet is the scorpion. Although there hasn’t been a formal study on how much radiation a scorpion can withstand, it is believed that it can tolerate nuclear attacks better than most animals. According to numerous studies, these six-legged arachnids can endure high levels of ultraviolet (UV) solar radiation, and some even glow in the dark.

Scorpions have existed on Earth for millions of years and are still thriving. They are frequently discovered in cracks and burrows, increasing their chances of survival and providing some added protection from radiation and the aftermath. Due to their already ideal form, scorpions have a high level of resistance and have remained largely unchanged throughout their evolution.

2. Fruit Flies

Close up of a fruit fly on a piece of fruit

Fruit flies can tolerate many times more radiation than humans, enduring up to 64,000 rads.


The fruit fly’s tiny frame is very helpful to them when exposed to radiation. They can tolerate many times more radiation than humans, enduring up to 64,000 rads. Although fruit flies have a 30-day lifespan and can’t properly absorb radiation like larger creatures can, if there was a nuclear bomb, they would probably still live the entire 30 days. Sadly, they won’t be able to find any fruit to eat.

The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology scientists discovered that even low doses of gamma radiation can increase the lifespan of fruit flies.

3. Braconidae Wasps


Braconidae wasps can withstand 300 times more radiation than people.

©Richard Bartz, Munich aka Makro Freak / CC BY-SA 2.5 – License

Some of the sturdiest animals on the planet belong to this group of primarily parasitic wasps. Wasps are entertaining to hate, but they can withstand 300 times more radiation than people. A startling 180,000 rads can be conquered by them (the Hiroshima bomb was only 10,000 rads). Another interesting fact is that these wasps can be taught to “sniff out” and recognize explosiveness and harmful materials – police wasps!

4. Mummichogs


©NOAA / public domain – License

These small fish, mummichogs, can be seen in the Atlantic Ocean off the coasts of the United States and Canada. The rather endearing mummichog may sound like a legendary creature discovered at Hogwarts, but it is actually just an ordinary fish. Fish are typically not very resilient, and modifications to the salinity, water temperature, or pollution usually result in their extinction. However, the mummichog is unique in that it can survive anywhere. It is found in the sea’s most chemically contaminated and dirtiest parts.

Additionally, it is the only fish to have visited space. In 1973, some of them were sent to the Skylab space station for testing, where it was observed that they could swim in space and that all of their eggs were born normally.

5. Ants

Yellow Crazy Ant

Ants can survive in almost any weather condition.

©Narupon Nimpaiboon/

In almost any weather conditions, including the Sahara Desert, ants can stay alive. The ocean is also home to species of aquatic ants. Given that different ant species can survive in a wide range of temperatures, constant pressure, weather extremes, and more, this is reassuring for their survival.

Ants have developed a special ability that allows them to identify sick members of their colony, so they are more than ready to face a zombie apocalypse. According to one study, ants will “sacrifice” or destroy other ants if they believe they are sick or infected by preventing the disease from spreading throughout their colony. This aids in their ability to withstand epidemics and other serious diseases within their colony.

How Much Time Will It Take for Earth to Recover From a Nuclear War?

For the planet’s climate to return to something resembling normal, it will take over 10 years. Most people on Earth will have long since passed away by this point. Global food production would decrease by more than 90%, resulting in a famine that would kill billions of people from starvation.

Summary of 5 Animals (Other Than Cockroaches) That Can Survive a Nuclear Armageddon

2Fruit Flies
4Braconidae Wasps
Table of 5 Animals (Other Than Cockroaches) That Can Survive a Nuclear Armageddon

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