It's Not Just Humans: 10 Animals That Go Through Menopause

16th March, 2024


Menopause is when a female's ovaries stop releasing eggs, and her menstrual cycle (or its equivalent) ends. In humans, this brings on a range of physical changes.

What is Menopause?

The Short-Finned Pilot Whale

These social whales can live up to 60 years, with females experiencing menopause around 40. Post-reproductive females play a vital role in leading their pods.

The Killer Whale (Orca)

Killer whales can live an astonishing 80-90 years! Menopause begins around age 40, and these grandmothers are essential to their family's survival, sharing knowledge and resources.

The Beluga Whale

Belugas can live for 70-80 years, with menopause occurring in their 40s. Like other whales, older females become leaders and teachers within their pods.

The Narwhal

These Arctic whales can live up to 50 years, with menopause possibly occurring in their 30s or 40s. Research is ongoing, but their social structure suggests older females might play a guiding role.

The Asian Elephant

Asian elephants can live for 60-70 years, with their reproductive period ending around age 50. Experienced matriarchs become the leaders of their elephant family groups.

The African Elephant (Potentially)

Elephants can live to around 70. While menopause is less definitively proven in African elephants, older females likely take on leadership and caregiving responsibilities.

The Humpback Whale (Possibly)

Humpback whales can live up to 50 years. Research suggests they might stop reproducing in their 40s, potentially entering menopause. However, further observation is needed.

The False Killer Whale

These highly social dolphins can live up to 60 years. Studies show their reproductive years end in their 40s or 50s, indicating they experience menopause.

The Risso's Dolphin

Risso's dolphins can live for around 40 years. Often covered in scars, older females demonstrate they have likely gone through menopause.

The Bottlenose Dolphin (Debated)

Bottlenose dolphins can live 50+ years. While some populations show reduced fertility in older females, it's unclear if they experience true menopause as defined in humans and other whales.