Jonathan is the Oldest Known Living Terrestrial Animal in the World

Posted by Christy Caplan
Oldest Tortoise
Facebook/Daniel Arenson

Jonathan, a tortoise was born so long ago, he should be consulted for history lessons. He turned 187 this year and was born in 1832. He's the oldest animal on land!

Here's what was happening in 1832:

  • First appearance of cholera in London
  • 1st Democratic National Convention (Baltimore)
  • Black Hawk, leader of Sauk-Indians, gives himself up

The Guinness World Records tells us that he's just shy of being the oldest 'chelonian ever', a record held by a tortoise that lived to be 188 years old.

"This puts him just one year away from the title of oldest chelonian ever, currently held by Tu'i Malila, a radiated tortoise that reached at least 188 years old. She was owned by the royal family of Tonga between c. 1777 and 1965, and had been presented to them by British explorer Captain James Cook during his third - and final - Pacific voyage (1776-80)."

This tortoise lives on the remote island of St Helena in the South Atlantic since 1882.  Yes, he has lived in the same place since 1882. Think of those of us that get a little stir crazy after living in the same place for a few years! 

He has lived at the Governor's residence this entire time.

Jonathan is the oldest known living terrestrial animal in the world. He came to life in 1832 and is currently 187 years...

Posted by Daniel Arenson on Sunday, September 1, 2019

He's lived through two world wars, and during his long life, he's become a celebrity of St. Helena. He has exceeded his life expectancy already.

"Considering his great age - he is already well beyond his kind's 150-year average lifespan - Jonathan is in surprisingly good health. He hasn't escaped completely unscathed, though."

I wonder if he has any old age diseases like cataracts or joint disease? Does he have excellent hearing and how is his sense of smell? All joking aside we'd love to meet Jonathan and his other buddies on this island!

What is the age of the oldest pet you've ever lived with? Please leave us a comment below! 

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Jonathan is the Oldest Known Living Terrestrial Animal in the World