Jonathan the Tortoise: World’s oldest living land animal celebrates 191st birthday

Jonathan the Tortoise: World’s oldest living land animal celebrates 191st birthday

Meet Jonathan, an amazing Seychelles giant tortoise who recently celebrated his 191st birthday! He is officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest living land creature on Earth.

Born around 1832, Jonathan lived through a time before many modern marvels we take for granted. He witnessed historical events like the U.S. Civil War, Queen Victoria's reign, both World Wars, and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union.

Since 1882, Jonathan has gracefully roamed the grounds of the Governor's house on Saint Helena. He even formed a strong bond with another tortoise, named Frederica (although it took 26 years to realize Frederica was actually male!).

Jonathan at Plantation House | St Helena Island
Photo: StHelena

Jonathan is more than just a long-lived tortoise, he holds the title of the oldest chelonian ever recorded - encompassing all tortoises, turtles, and terrapins. This remarkable achievement made him a national treasure in St. Helena, with his likeness appearing on the local five-pence coin.

Despite his age, Jonathan remains active and enjoys a good quality of life. Although blind and lacking a sense of smell, he still strolls around with his dedicated team ensuring his well-being.

Jonathan's longevity surpasses many modern inventions, including the bicycle, lightbulb, airship, photograph, and revolver. This serves as a testament to the resilience of nature and inspires us to appreciate each moment.

Jonathan's story is a reminder that age is no barrier to a fulfilling life. He continues to thrive and is expected to reach his third century, proving that life can be filled with purpose and joy at any age.

Visit Galapagos with our itineraries