The World’s Oldest Living Land Animal, a Tortoise Named Jonathan, Turns 191

Jonathan, the Seychelles giant tortoise, has achieved the remarkable milestone of turning 191, solidifying his position as the world’s oldest living land animal. Born around 1832, Jonathan predates significant historical events, including the invention of the telephone, lightbulb, and postage stamps. His remarkable journey spans 40 U.S. presidents and 31 governors of Saint Helena, the Atlantic island where he resides. Gifted to the island’s governor from Seychelles in 1882, Jonathan was already a fully grown adult, indicating he was at least 50. While his exact age remains uncertain, experts believe he could be even older, as last year, St. Helena Governor Nigel Phillips officially recognized December 4, 1832, as Jonathan’s birthday. Seychelles giant tortoises typically have an average life expectancy of 150 years, making Jonathan’s longevity even more extraordinary.

Living on St. Helena, an island famous for hosting Napoleon Bonaparte during his exile, Jonathan has witnessed significant historical events and changes. Despite his age, Jonathan’s veterinarian, Joe Hollins, attests to the tortoise’s vitality, stating there is “no sign of slowing down.” The enduring resilience of Jonathan highlights the extraordinary lifespan and resilience of Seychelles giant tortoises, contributing to their status as fascinating and enduring creatures in the natural world.

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