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

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

Meet Jonathan, the incredible Seychelles giant tortoise who recently celebrated his 191st birthday! Guinness World Records officially acknowledges him as the oldest living land creature on Earth.

Born around 1832, Jonathan has witnessed an era preceding many modern conveniences we now take for granted. He observed significant historical events such as the U.S. Civil War, Queen Victoria's reign, both World Wars, and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union.

Residing on the grounds of the Governor's house on Saint Helena since 1882, Jonathan has gracefully navigated through the years. He developed a strong bond with another tortoise, initially thought to be female but revealed as male after an unexpected 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 recorded, covering tortoises, turtles, and terrapins. This remarkable accomplishment has elevated him to the status of a national treasure in St. Helena, commemorated on the local five-pence coin.

Despite his advanced age, Jonathan remains vibrant and enjoys a high quality of life. Despite being blind and without a sense of smell, he continues to wander about, with a dedicated team ensuring his well-being.

Jonathan's enduring vitality predates the arrival of several modern inventions, including the bicycle, lightbulb, airship, photograph, and revolver. His story stands as a testament to the resilience of nature, encouraging us to appreciate each moment.

Jonathan's narrative serves as a poignant reminder that age should not restrict a fulfilling life. He not only perseveres but is expected to reach his third century, illustrating that purpose and joy can enhance life at any age.

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