Meet The Oldest Tortoise Ever

Share this:
Jonathan the giant tortoise

Jonathan the giant tortoise on St Helena. CC BY

Meet Jonathan, the Seychelles giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa), who turns 190 years in 2022. No one really knows in which year he was born but when he was first photographed in 1886 he was mature and estimates suggests his birth year to be 1832 or earlier. Before turning 190 years of age, he was already the oldest living land animal, but now he is the oldest chelonian ever (a category which include turtles, tortoises, and terrapins).

Jonathan (left tortoise) photographed circa 1882-1886 at the governor's residence in St. Helena. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

Jonathan (left) photographed circa 1882-1886 at the governor’s residence in St. Helena. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

Jonathan lives on the island of St Helena (where Napoleon was incarcerated and died), in the gardens of the governor’s residence. He arrived on the island from the Seychelles when he was already 50 years old and since then he has outlasted 32 governors. His lifespan makes him older than electricity, cars and telephones.

Jonathan lives a quiet life on St Helena, munching on the grass and being hand-fed once a week on cabbages, cucumbers, carrots, and apples. He also has three companions called David, Emma, and Fred.

He apparently even has a 5p coin with his image on it!





Become a Patron!

I am a Chartered Environmentalist from the Royal Society for the Environment, UK and co-owner of DoLocal Digital Marketing Agency Ltd, with a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University, an MBA in Finance, and a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics. I am passionate about science, history and environment and love to create content on these topics.

Free Email Updates
We respect your privacy.