Historic Giant Tortoise Jonathan Celebrates 191st Birthday, Shatters Records

Jonathan, the Seychelles giant tortoise, marked a momentous milestone as he turned 191, solidifying his reign as the oldest living land animal. Guinness World Records confirmed his extraordinary age, calculated from his arrival on St Helena in 1882 at an estimated 50 years old. Despite challenges such as diminished senses and cataract-induced blindness, Jonathan remains in robust health, relishing a weekly diet of fruits and vegetables hand-fed by a devoted team. The celebration of this ancient tortoise’s birthday, complete with heartwarming photos, has captivated social media audiences worldwide.

Veterinarian Joe Hollins, overseeing Jonathan’s care, marveled at the tortoise’s resilience, stating, “Despite losing his sense of smell and being virtually blind from cataracts, his appetite remains keen.” Hollins emphasized the critical role of the carefully curated diet in sustaining Jonathan’s metabolism with essential vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. Governor Nigel Phillips of St Helena officially declared December 4, 1932, as Jonathan’s birthday last year, acknowledging the tortoise’s remarkable journey through the reigns of eight British monarchs, 40 US presidents, and 26 managers of Manchester United.

Jonathan’s routine reflects a balance between his preferences and seasonal changes. Hollins detailed how the tortoise delights in sunbathing on mild days, bask in the sun while seeking shade on hotter days, and burrows into leaf mold or grass clippings during cold winters. Among his cherished foods are cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce hearts, apples, and bananas, offering a glimpse into the dietary habits that have sustained this iconic creature throughout his historic lifespan.

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