Jonathan the Tortoise: World’s oldest living land animal celebrates 191st birthday

Jonathan the Tortoise: World’s oldest living land animal celebrates 191st birthday

Introducing Jonathan, the remarkable Seychelles giant tortoise who recently marked his 191st birthday! Guinness World Records officially recognizes him as the oldest living terrestrial creature on the planet.

Born circa 1832, Jonathan has traversed an era predating many modern conveniences we now consider commonplace. He bore witness to significant historical events such as the U.S. Civil War, Queen Victoria's reign, both World Wars, and the ebb and flow of the Soviet Union.

Residing on the grounds of the Governor's house on Saint Helena since 1882, Jonathan has elegantly navigated the years. He formed a strong connection with another tortoise, initially believed to be female but revealed as male after a surprising 26 years!

Jonathan at Plantation House | St Helena Island
Photo: StHelena

Beyond being an exceptionally long-lived tortoise, Jonathan holds the distinction of being the oldest chelonian ever documented, encompassing tortoises, turtles, and terrapins. This extraordinary feat has elevated him to the status of a national treasure in St. Helena, commemorated on the local five-pence coin.

In spite of his advanced age, Jonathan remains lively and enjoys a high quality of life. Though sightless and lacking a sense of smell, he continues to amble about, with a devoted team ensuring his welfare.

Jonathan's enduring vitality surpasses the advent of several modern inventions, including the bicycle, lightbulb, airship, photograph, and revolver. His story serves as a testament to the resilience of nature, inspiring us to cherish each moment.

Jonathan's narrative is a poignant reminder that age should not limit a fulfilling life. He not only perseveres but is anticipated to reach his third century, demonstrating that purpose and joy can enrich life at any age.

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