Did you know there’s a 187-year-old creature walking this earth? His name is Jonathan, and he’s an old tortoise who loves to eat grass and chill out with his buddies in the sun. Want to know where he lives and how he ended up there? We’ve got you covered! Read on to discover one of the sweetest, most incredible animal stories you’ll read all year!
Meet Jonathan The Tortoise
If you feel old, or think that your grandparents are rather ancient, well, then you should meet Jonathan. Jonathan was born in 1832 in Seychelles, and currently peacefully resides in the remote, quiet island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic. However, Jonathan’s no human; he’s a tortoise!
You can see Johnathan the tortoise above, on the left, all the way back in 1886! A Seychelles giant tortoise, Johnthan is now celebrating his 187th year on our planet! As far as researchers know, ol’ Jonny is the oldest living animal in the world. Believe it or not, however, Jonathan didn’t always claim the title. In 2006, Adwaita, also a tortoise, passed away at the age of 256. Meanwhile, Hanako, a koi fish, died in 1977 at the age of 256. Still, few animals live to Jonathan’s age, and he has quite a bit to share with us!
The Island’s Biggest Icon
Jonathan the tortoise is such a lovely creature, he even has his own Wikipedia page! This tortoise made it through two centuries, two world wars, the invention of cars, television, and cellphones. Jonathan also lived a hundred years before the invention of sliced bread – can you imagine? Though, fun fact and credit where credit is due, so did Betty White!
We don’t know who brought Jonathan to St. Helena Island in 1882, at the age of 50, along with three other tortoises. However, now the giant tortoise lives in on the grounds of the Plantation House, which is also the official residence of the island’s governor. Jonathan has quite the digs! Meanwhile, the island’s second-oldest resident on the island, a human, is practically an infant next to Jonathan – an 80-year-old man named David!
And have no fear animal lovers, the local SPCA takes excellent care of Jonathan, as they have for years. Their spokesperson, Teeny Lucy, is the primary caretaker of old Jonathan and says he is an “icon” on the island. To prove her point, his portrait is even printed on the back of the island’s five pence coin! Lucy called him a “gentleman,” who has practically seen it all.
“It’s All About The Food!”
Even though Jonathan the tortoise is blind, Jonathan is living a healthy, peaceful life, as a tortoise should – he enjoys walks around the grounds, munching on grass, and hanging out with his other animal friends. Lucy brings him plenty of veggies to munch on, and he’s being closely monitored in every visit.
A few years back, Jonathan had some medical issues: his beak became crumbly and soft, and he refused to eat, losing a lot of weight. The vet determined old Jonny needed a change of diet. So, in a few weeks and a fresh meal plan, Jonathan returned to his happy, healthy self and hasn’t experienced any medical problems since.
Lucy gave more insight into Jonathan and how clever he is: “He knows my voice, and he knows the vet’s voice and reacts by walking toward us. It’s all about the food!”
Now that Jonathan is happy and healthy again, we look forward to seeing him stick around for a very long time!