Birthday wishes are in order for Jonathan the Seychelles giant tortoise. The lumbering giant turns 190 years old in 2022. Already the oldest living land animal, this recent milestone is another Guinness World Record for Jonathan. He is now the oldest chelonian ever—a category which include turtles, tortoises, and terrapins. The super-centenarian is still living the good life on the island of St. Helena as befits such a distinguished creature.
While his exact birth year is not known, Jonathan was at least 50 years old when he arrived on the island of St. Helena from his native Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. He was captured on film in 1886, already fully mature for his species, the Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa. This makes his birth year 1832 or even earlier. He has lived most of his life on the grounds of the governor's residence in St. Helena, outlasting 32 governors.
During his lifetime, Jonathan has lived through some significant milestones. He was a youth when the first photograph of a person was taken. He arrived, fully mature, at St. Helena before the Eiffel Tower was unveiled in Paris. The giant tortoise is older than electricity, telephones, and automobiles. While this lifespan is impressive, it is not uncommon for tortoises to live for over 100 years. The previous record holder for longest-lived chelonian was held by Tu’i Malila, a radiated tortoise. He was a gift from Captain Cook to the royalty of Tonga. He passed away in 1965 at the age of 188.
Jonathan is still going strong although his sight and sense of smell aren't what they used to be. He reportedly loves to bask in sunlight and finds snug leaf piles when it gets cold. His three giant tortoise friends (and lovers) keep him company. Their names are David, Emma, and Fred. Jonathan is hand-fed once a week to boost his nutritional intake. He enjoys cabbages, cucumbers, carrots, and apples. He also enjoys his time with vet Dr. Joe Hollins, whose voice he associates with yummy treats. Congratulations to Jonathan on his newest record and his exceptional life.
Jonathan the giant tortoise has turned 190, making him the oldest tortoise ever.
He lives a quiet life in St. Helena where he gets yummy snacks and sleeps in the sun.
Jonathan is also the oldest living animal.
h/t: [Guinness World Records]