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World's oldest living land animal is celebrating yet another birthday

Emily Brown

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| Last updated 

World's oldest living land animal is celebrating yet another birthday

Featured Image Credit: St Helena Tourism

If you ever feel old, just think about how the world's oldest living land animal is fast approaching his 200th birthday.

You're a spring chicken in comparison to him!

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This month, Jonathan the giant tortoise celebrated another year around the sun, having already lived through the US civil war, both world wars, and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union.

He's outlived presidents and Queens, not to mention millions of people, and witnessed - indirectly - the creation of sliced bread, the telephone, and the internet.

And you'll be glad to know that Jonathan hasn't had to go through it all on his own, having found himself involved in a 26-year partnership with a fellow male tortoise on their home on the island of Saint Helena in the Atlantic Ocean.

Jonathan is believed to have been hatched in 1832 before he was moved to Saint Helena 50 years later.

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Jonathan the tortoise lives on St Helena. Credit: YouTube/St Helena Tourism
Jonathan the tortoise lives on St Helena. Credit: YouTube/St Helena Tourism

His date of birth is an estimate based on the fact he was fully mature, and therefore at least 50 years old, when he arrived on Saint Helena.

Last year, Nigel Phillips, the governor of the British overseas territory, granted him the official birthday of 4 December 1832.

Based on that estimate, that means this year Jonathan has turned the grand old age of 191.

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The elderly tortoise is now blind, and he's lost his sense of smell, but his vet Joe Hollins has assured that he's otherwise in good health.

He now spends most of his time roaming around in the grounds of the Governor’s house, and Hollins is hopeful that he'll continue roaming for a long time to come.

Jonathan is in good health at more than 190 years old. Credit: YouTube/St Helena Tourism
Jonathan is in good health at more than 190 years old. Credit: YouTube/St Helena Tourism

Speaking to the Guinness World Records as Jonathan celebrated his latest birthday, the vet said: “Jonathan is in good health and all the indications at present make us hopeful that he will reach his third century - if indeed he hasn’t done so already!”

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Hollins went on to assure that Jonathan still lives a full life, thanks in part to his 'good libido' which sees him mate 'frequently' with other tortoises.

The vet added: "In spite of losing his sense of smell and being virtually blind from cataracts, his appetite remains keen.

“He is still being hand-fed once a week with a fortifying helping of fruit and vegetables by a small, dedicated team.

"This not only supplements his calories but provides those essential drivers of his metabolism: vitamins, minerals, and trace elements."

With a good diet combined with his seemingly happy life, hopefully Jonathan will be celebrating his 200th birthday in just a few short years!

Topics: News, Animals, Science, World News

Emily Brown
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