Last Updated: 13th January, 2022 22:51 IST


190-Yr-old Tortoise Jonathan Enters Guinness World Record As World’s Oldest Land Animal


Written By

Harsh Vardhan



It is estimated that the tortoise, Jonathan, was born somewhere around 1832 and has lived on the island of St Helena since he arrived from Seychelles in 1882.




Image: @GuinnessWorldRecords/Twitter

A tortoise named Jonathan residing on the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean has entered the Guinness World Record for being the world’s oldest living land animal. Estimated to have been born in 1882, Jonathan will be celebrating his 190th birthday this year, according to the Guinness World Records.


The animal’s official title is actually being the oldest chelonian, which is a category encompassing all turtles, terrapins and tortoises. If the estimates are correct, Jonathan has surpassed the previous oldest chelonian–Tu’i Malila, which is believed to have lived for at least 188 years.

He’s also been confirmed as the oldest tortoise ever!


— Guinness World Records (@GWR) January 13, 2022


In a recent update, the St Helena Government informed that Jonathan has “come through the winter well” but is unaware of the food around him since he has no sight or sense of smell left. Although he reportedly has an ‘excellent’ hearing and enjoys the company of humans especially his vet Joe Hollins. Besides, the veterinary section keeps him going by boosting his calories through vitamins, minerals and trace elements.


As mentioned above, it is estimated that Jonathan was born somewhere around 1832 and has lived in St Helena since he arrived from Seychelles in 1882. The creature’s age is estimated by the fact that he must have been 50 years old when he arrived at his current location since he was fully mature by then. Jonathan’s caretakers are also certain about his age based on the photograph shared below, where the creature is grazing grass in the garden of Plantation House. The photograph is believed to have been taken between 1882 and 1886 at the residence of the then Governor of St Helena.


While many Governors came and left, Jonathan is still at the Plantation house accompanied by three other giant tortoises namely David, Emma and Fred. Calling the creature a ‘local icon’, Jonathan’s vet Hollins said that he is a symbol of persistence while listing his favourite things to do.


Hollins revealed that Jonathan’s main interests are sleeping, eating and mating and he prefers a sunbath on mild days. Although the tortoise no longer has a sense of smell, he still enjoys eating cabbage, cucumber, carrot, apple and other seasonal fruits.


Historic milestones Jonathan has lived through:


The first milestone which Jonathan experienced in his long lifespan is the first photograph of a person that was taken in 1838. Moreover, the years 1876 and 1878 when the first telephone call was made and the first incandescent lightbulb was invented, respectively.


The creature also lived through the year 1887 when the Eiffel Tower’s construction was completed followed by the first power-driven flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903. Not to forget the year 1969, when NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong step his foot on the Moon.


(Image: @Guinness World Records/Twitter)


Tags: JonathanGuinness World Recordsworlds oldest living land animal

First Published: 13th January, 2022 22:51 IST