Meet the world’s oldest land animal, 190-year-old Jonathan the turtle

The oldest living land animal is recorded a tortoise. Jonathan lives on the island of Saint Helena and celebrates his 190e anniversary. Jonathan set a new world record.

“Its official record is oldest chelonian, a category that encompasses all tortoises, terrapins and tortoises”shared the Guinness World Records on Facebook.

Jonathan (left) 1882-86, on the grounds of Plantation House, St Helena. (Public domain)

Jonathan is believed to have been born in 1832. Photos taken between 1882 and 1886 at Plantation House, the governor’s residence of St. Helena where Jonathan spent most of his life, show an adult Jonathan happily eating grass in company of another turtle.

Arriving in Saint Helena from the Seychelles archipelago in 1882, Jonathan was given as a gift to the then Governor, Sir William Grey-Wilson. Since then, 31 governors have served.

(Courtesy of the Government of Saint Helena)

Although he is very old, Jonathan does not live alone in the residence of the governor. He enjoys the company of three other turtles, David, Emma and Fred.

Jonathan has lost his sight and sense of smell, but is doing well and enjoying life grazing the soil at Plantation House. His keepers hand-feed him once a week to boost his intake of calories, vitamins, minerals and trace elements, according to Guinness World Records. His hearing is excellent, and he recognizes the voice of his veterinary staff, Dr. Joe Hollins, which he associates with tasty treats.

Jonathan is hand fed once a week. (Courtesy of the Government of Saint Helena)

Millions of people fell in love with Jonathan when footage of his very first bath was shared on YouTube in March 2016. Jonathan was believed to be 184 years old at the time.

It was washed by Mr. Hollins, on the grounds of Plantation House, using a gentle, circular scrubbing method with non-abrasive materials, which were pre-approved by a turtle specialist. It was Mr. Hollins who came up with the idea of ​​cleaning up Jonathan after he groomed and transformed the shell of a live female turtle at the same site.

(Courtesy of the Government of Saint Helena)

In front of the cameras, Mr. Hollins said, “What an honor! I ply my trade for the love of animals and have the oldest known living land animal in the world here and take care of it. Isn’t that fantastic? »

According to Mr. Hollins, Jonathan has simple pleasures – he enjoys sleeping, mating and eating. Cabbage, cucumber, carrot, lettuce, apple and banana are his favorite foods, although bananas “tends to damage his mouth”. It also likes to sunbathe in mild weather, absorbing the sun’s heat through its long neck and outstretched legs outside its shell. It transfers heat inside its body. When it is cold, it burrows under leaves or grass to stay warm.

(Courtesy of the Government of Saint Helena)

According to some specialists, it is quite possible that Jonathan is older than we thought.

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