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We Love Animals

Born Circa 1832, Jonathan The Tortoise Is Now The World’s Oldest Animal On Land

This incredible creature has lived through two world wars, the Russian Revolution, seven monarchs on the British throne, and 40 US presidents! Meet Jonathan, the world’s oldest terrestrial animal and also the oldest chelonian ever in history.

Image source: The Guinness World Records

Hatched circa 1832, Jonathan is now 189 years old and is still living a fabulous life alongside his mate Emma and his two tortoise friends David and Fred on St. Helena island – a British possession located in the South Atlantic Ocean. The old reptile moved there from Seychelles as a gift for former Governor William Grey-Wilson in 1882, when he was about 50 years old.

Image source: The Guinness World Records

Currently, Jonathan is busying sunbathing daily on the manicured lawns of a Georgian mansion named “Plantation” on the remote island. In an interview with The Guinness World Records, his vet Joe Hollins shared that this old guy was really a placid and sweet being.

“As befits his age, Jonathan is gentle and enjoys the company of people,” he said. “Although mostly blind due to cataracts, he has very good hearing and responds especially to his name at feeding time. He also has a fascination with the sounds of tennis when the paddock court is in use.”

Image source: The Guinness World Records

According to Hollins, a typical day of Jonathan is “very relaxed”. He has his own unique way to get the most of each season through the year.

“He enjoys the sun but on very hot days takes to the shade,” Hollins continued. “On mild days, he will sunbathe – his long neck and legs stretched fully out of his shell to absorb heat and transfer it to his core. It’s an odd posture and before now we have had panicked phone calls to say he appeared to have died! On cold winter days, he will dig himself into leaf mould or grass clippings and remain there all day.”

Image source: The Guinness World Records

Jonathan has long been a symbol of St. Helena and all of the locals adore him very much. Once in a while there would be visitors who come to see him and his friends too, even though their caregivers have applied some strict restrictions.

Image source: The Guinness World Records

Of course, Hollins is also one of Jonathan’s admirers. They share an amazingly strong bond with each other.

“For a veterinary surgeon, to have the oldest-known living land animal under his care is a great privilege, and something I could never have envisaged happening. I have bonded with him and am very fond of the crusty old reptile,” he said.

Image source: The Guinness World Records

Isn’t Jonathan endearing? Please share his story with your loved ones!

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