Jonathan the Tortoise, The World’s Oldest Animal, Turns 190
by Ashley Dreiling
Happy 190th birthday to the oldest animal, and oldest tortoise, in the human record.
His name is Jonathan and he was given the title by the Guinness World Records, after confirming that he hatched in 1832 based on photographic records.
According to The Guardian, governor of the British overseas territory Nigel Phillips declared Jonathan’s birthday to be December 4, 1832. The tortoise was then feted like royalty, including a three-day celebration at the governor’s residence on the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic and a reptile-friendly cake.
Jonathan is a Seychelles giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa), Technically, and technically he holds the record title of the oldest chelonian, an order of shelled reptiles that includes all turtles, terrapins, and tortoises.
The only official record used to prove Jonathan’s age was an old photograph that shows the turtle arrived on the island in 1882. In the photo, he appears to be fully mature and estimated to be at least 50 years old at that time, making his birth around 1832.
Impressive as his new title is, the birthday boy isn’t as spry as he once was. Jonathan is blind and has lost his sense of smell, but he still has a healthy appetite. Apparently, his favorite foods are lettuce hearts and bananas. Here’s to Jonathan and 190 more!