Meet Jonathan, The Oldest Known Land Animal Who Has Lived in 3 Centuries.

The Oldest Known Land Animal: Jonathan is an elderly gentleman who has experienced a lot during his lifetime. Having lived through the reigns of 7 British monarchs, the invention of light bulbs and motorized cars, the completion of the Eiffel Tower, and the first skyscraper, Jonathan The Tortoise is still active and enjoys his life.

galgoli would like to share the story of this incredible Seychelles giant tortoise who is considered to be the oldest known land animal in the world. Jonathan was brought from Seychelles to Saint Helena Island in 1882, an isolated and peaceful island in the South Atlantic Ocean, known for being the place of Napoleon’s exile.

The Oldest Known Land Animal
This historical photo taken in the late 1800s shows Jonathan, left, with another tortoise, now deceased. (Courtesy of Joe Hollins)

Jonathan has been living on the grounds of the Plantation House, the official residence of the governor, since then. Although his exact age is unknown, it is believed that he reached his full adult size when he arrived on the island, making him around 50 years old at the time. Vets estimate that he could have been born in 1832, making him 187-188 years old today.

The average life expectancy for a tortoise of his species is about 150 years, so Jonathan has outlived all his fellow tortoises by more than 30 years! This fact led to him being recognized as the oldest living land animal by Guinness World Records.


Despite being blind from cataracts, losing his sense of smell, and being unable to detect food, Jonathan is still doing well health-wise. He enjoys stretching out his long neck and legs in the sun on sunny days, and on colder days, he digs into leaf piles or grass clippings and stays there all day.

Once a week, Jonathan indulges in his favorite foods, which include carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, apples, and bananas. Despite his age, he is still very active and loves people’s attention. He adores it when someone strokes his neck and is always ready to pose for a picture.

Jonathan shares his home with three other land tortoises, David, Emma, and Fred, who are much younger than him. David is his best friend and the second oldest tortoise on the island, but he’s only 80 years old.

local residents and Jonathan

Jonathan is considered a true legend on the island of Saint Helena, having lived through so many historical events and being a symbol of persistence and stability for local residents. Tourists from all over the world visit the island to see him in person and take pictures with him.

If you’re interested in meeting Jonathan in person, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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