Jonathan the oldest-living tortoise turns 190 this year

12:04 PM Apr 24, 2022 | Team Udayavani |

Meet Jonathan, a 190-year-old Seychelles tortoise who is currently celebrating his birthday on the island of St. Helena, a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic.


He is thought to have been born in the year 1832. Jonathan was named the oldest living chelonian – a reptile order that includes all turtles, terrapins, and tortoises — by Guinness World Records in January.

Tu’i Malila, a radiated tortoise handed to Tonga’s royal family in 1777 and who lived to reach 188 years old before dying in 1965, previously held the record.

Jonathan, on the other hand, is the world’s oldest living terrestrial animal and is still going strong at a ripe old age. He has outlived his species’ typical lifetime by a long shot.

“Giant tortoises generally live up to around 150 years, so he is doing very well,” Teeny Lucy of St. Helena SPCA told Peta Pixel. “


“He is now mostly blind due to cataracts and has lost his sense of smell, nevertheless he knows his territory so well that he moves about the large paddock and grazes the grass with no problems.”

Jonathan is so old that his earliest photograph dates from 1882-1886 (at least 136 years ago), when he had already inhabited the Earth for five decades. Near St. Helena’s Government House, a fully grown Jonathan is seen grazing grass alongside another huge tortoise.

The case for an 1832 birth is supported by photographic evidence of the enormous turtle. If he was born in that year, our Jonathan has witnessed many historic events, including Charles Darwin’s HMS Beagle voyage, two world wars, the first time the 400 ppm CO2 threshold was breached in 2.6 – 5.3 million years in 2016, and yet another pandemic.


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