World's Oldest Living Land Animal Celebrates 191st Birthday

December 4, 2023

Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise, recently marked his 191st birthday, solidifying his status as the world's oldest living land animal.

191 year old tortoise
Jonathan / Credit: Guinness World Records

Nestled on the island of St Helena, Jonathan's 191 years tell a tale of endurance, witnessing the ebb and flow of history from the Mines Act of 1842 to the abolition of slavery in 1865 and beyond. As the reigning elder statesman of the animal kingdom, he has borne witness to eight British monarchs and 40 U.S. presidents, embodying a living connection to the annals of time.

Despite the challenges that come with age, including a loss of smell and impaired vision, his dedicated caretakers, led by the steadfast veterinarian Joe Hollins, ensured that he indulged in a special feast of fruits and vegetables.

Jonathan's continued zest for life, showcased by his hearty appetite, reflects the indomitable spirit that has carried him through the centuries.

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

"Jonathan is in good health and all the indications at present make us hopeful that he will reach his third century – if indeed he hasn't done so already!"

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