Can any animal live for years without food?

There is a very small creature, a distant relative of the spider, that can live for years without food. It is often known as the water bear (photo, left). Its real name is tardigrada.
These creatures live naturally in a damp atmosphere, but if the atmosphere becomes dry they also dry up. All movements graduaily cease, the body shrinks until it looks like a wrinkled seed, and thus it will remain year alter year. To all it appears dead. If placed in water, however, in a few minutes it will swell out, the wrinkles will disappear, the legs will stretch out, and gradually it will move, in an hour or so the creature is as active as ever, and crawls away.
Some snails, too, can remain apparently dead for years without food, and then revive and live as though they had been eating just as usual all that long time.

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