Jonathan The Tortoise, World's Oldest Living Land Animal, Turns 191

The giant tortoise is still hale and hearty, according to the veterinarian who is looking after the animal.

Jonathan The Tortoise, World's Oldest Living Land Animal, Turns 191

Jonathan is believed to have been born around 1832.

The world's oldest living land animal, Jonathan the tortoise, turned 191 years old this week, extending its own title by a year. The Seychelles giant tortoise is believed to have been born around 1832, according to Guinness World Records (GWR). The tortoise's age was calculated based on the year it was brought from Seychelles to the island of St Helena in 1882 - the animal was 50 years old at that time. Heartwarming photos of Jonathan's birthday celebrations have gone viral on social media.

GWR said Jonathan has far surpassed his species' average life expectancy of 150 years.

It is the oldest turtle/chelonian in recorded history, having taken the title in 2021 from Tu'i Malila, a radiated tortoise that lived to be at least 188. Tu'i Malila died in 1965.

The giant tortoise is still hale and hearty, according to the veterinarian who is looking after the animal.

"In spite of losing his sense of smell and being virtually blind from cataracts, his appetite remains keen," Joe Hollins told GWR.

"He is still being hand-fed once a week with a fortifying helping of fruit and vegetables by a small, dedicated team. This not only supplements his calories but provides those essential drivers of his metabolism: vitamins, minerals, and trace elements," Mr Hollins added.

"It is extraordinary to think that this gentle giant has outlived every other living creature on land, including of course the whole human race," he said.

Jonathan was granted an official birthday - December 4, 1932 - by Nigel Phillips, the governor of St Helena, in November last year, according to The Guardian.

The tortoise has so far spanned the reigns of eight British monarchs, 40 US presidents, and 26 Manchester United managers.

"He enjoys the sun, but on very hot days takes to the shade. 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. On cold winter days, he will dig himself into leaf mould or grass clippings and remain there all day," said Mr Hollins.

Jonathan's favourite foods include cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce hearts and apples. He especially enjoys bananas.

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