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190-year-old Jonathan is now the oldest tortoise to ever exist

Guinness World Records have presented 190-year-old Jonathan with the title of being the world’s oldest ever tortoise.

The official title of the record is ‘Oldest Chelonian’, a categorisation of mammals that includes turtles, terrapins and of course, tortoises.

Jonathan lives in St Helena, on the African island of Seychelles and is believed to have been born in 1832, making him older than the first-ever photograph of a human.

Credit: Guinness World Records

He also holds the prestigious title of being the world’s oldest living land mammal, celebrating his 190th birthday this year.

The previous holder of the world record was Tu’i Malila, a radiated tortoise who made it to the ripe old age of 188.

But it’s possible that Jonathan is even older than the record accounts for. The estimation of his age is based on the knowledge that when he arrived in Seychelles in 1882, he was fully matured – a process that takes at least 50 years for tortoises.

Oldest Tortoise
Jonathan (left) photographed between 1882-1886 | Image via Wikipedia

He spends his days in the company of three other giant tortoises, David, Emma, and Fred, grazing the grounds of the plantation belonging to the government of St Helena.

Jonathan has “come through the winter well,” according to an update from the St Helena government. “He grazes well now, but is unaware of food if we simply place it on the ground.”

“He is blind and has no sense of smell,” the update continued. “His hearing though is excellent and he loves the company of humans, and responds well to his vet Joe Hollins’ voice as he associates him with a feast.”

Jonathan loves to sunbathe and despite his old age, his vet revealed, “Jonathan still has good libido and is seen frequently to mate with Emma and sometimes Fred – animals are often not particularly gender-sensitive!

We wish Jonathan a very happy birthday and 190 more happy years to come.