The world's oldest tortoise turns 190
Jonathan, the world's oldest recorded tortoise and living land animal, has turned 190.
He is today celebrating the finale of a three-day birthday party at his home on the island of St. Helena, a British overseas territory in the South Atlantic Ocean.
Local residents have been invited to the festivities, which have included a tortoise-friendly birthday cake — made of his favorite fruits and vegetables, including carrots, apples, and pears — and an animated video about his life.
Jonathan’s age is an estimation supported by a photo that shows him fully grown when he arrived on St. Helena in 1882 as a gift from Seychelles for the island’s then governor Sir William Grey-Wilson.
“In all likelihood, he is even older than we think,” says the Guinness World Records, which has given him the official record title of oldest chelonian — a category which includes all turtles, terrapins, and tortoises.
Jonathan lives with three other tortoises — David, Emma, and Fred — the latter of whom has been Jonathan’s partner since 1991.
At 190, Jonathan has lived through:
- The reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
- The invention of the telephone (1876)
- Two world wars (1914-1945)
- The moon landing (1969)
- All 34 seasons of The Simpsons (1989-present)
- Y2K (2000)