Jonathan Is The Oldest Living Animal In The World

Francesca Donovan

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jonathan the oldest tortoiseTeeny Lucy/Facebook

The oldest animal in the world is called Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise, and he was born in the 1800s which makes him older than pretty much everything.

But that’s not about to slow him down. Even though he’s probably blind with old age, according to his vets, he’s living his best chilled life on the remote island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic.

This cool customer is even older than the lightbulb and the motorised car!


Teeny Lucy, the chairperson for the local SPCA and his caretaker, said he’s a bit of an icon at the historic governor’s mansion where he spends his days lounging and eating and living the life of Riley.

Lucy told The Dodo:

Jonathan is an icon here. He is a grand old gentleman who has seen it all. He landed on St. Helena in 1882 as a fully grown adult; he has seen generations of people coming and going.

Being the oldest land animal in the world, he has almost royal status here.


In fact, he’s exactly 187 years old. That means he was born in 1832. His best mate, the second oldest tortoise on the island, is called David and is just 80 years old.

The years in his life have taught Jonathan how to be the perfect tortoise, said Lucy:

He is dignified and interacts in a friendly way as long as people move slowly around him. We are all very fond of him.

In fact, Jonathan is so popular that his portrait is even on the back of the small island’s five pence coin.


Jonathan had some health issues a few years ago, but after a little diet change, he’s back in great shape and still going strong.

Lucy said:

We started feeding Jonathan on a weekly basis a few years ago to supplement his grass diet and boost his nutrition.

This was because the island vet realized that his beak was soft and crumbly and that he was too cold and had lost weight. All that has reversed now and he is as fit as a fiddle!

He knows my voice and he knows the vet’s voice and reacts by walking toward us. It’s all about the food!


Well, if being ‘all about the food’ is the secret to a happy and long life, Jonathan, you are a universal spirit animal.

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Topics: Animals


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    Meet Jonathan, The Oldest-Known Animal In The World

Francesca Donovan
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