In what is believed to be a rare feat, Jonathan, a 190-year-old tortoise has been named as the world’s oldest living land animal by Guinness Book of World Records. The tortoise, at St Helena island, British Overseas Territory, celebrates its 190th birthday in 2022.
According to the records website, Jonathan is believed to have been born in 1832, thus making him 190 years old in 2022.
“Jonathan’s age is an estimation based on the fact that he was fully mature, and hence at least 50 years old, when he arrived in St Helena from the Seychelles in 1882. In all likelihood, he is even older than we think,” the records site stated.
The official record title states that he is the “oldest chelonian” – a category which encompasses all turtles, terrapins and tortoises. Now, as he ages, he has no sense of smell and is blind. But “his hearing though is excellent and he loves the company of humans, and responds well to his vet Joe Hollins’ voice as he associates him with a feast”.
The records site also suggested that the veterinary section is still feeding him by hand once a week to boost his calories, vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
The previous record was held by another tortoise — Tu’i Malila — who lived to be at least 188. It was presented to the royal family of Tonga by Captain Cook in 1777 and remained in their care until its death in 1965, the site mentioned.
Among Jonathan’s favourite foods are cabbage, cucumber, carrot, apple and other seasonal fruits.
“He loves banana, but it tends to gum up his mouth. Lettuce hearts, though not very nutritious, are a favourite”, the site said.