One of the most amazing things about wild animals is that some of them are able to live as long as human beings, if not longer.
The Asian elephant is known to live as long as 86 years. Macaws (which are colorful parrots) can live to be 100. Even eels are believed to reach the ripe old age of 150. But none of these comes close to one incredible creature…
The oldest creature living today is believed to be a giant tortoise who goes by the name of Jonathan. Unlike some tortoises who live their lives as pets, like this giant tortoise who goes for slow walks with his owner, Jonathan roams the island of St. Helena in the south Atlantic Ocean. Jonathan is absolutely amazing, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a photo of him on the very same island in 1882!
Scroll through to see this spectacular tortoise, who doesn’t seem to realize that he is probably the oldest animal in the entire world.
On the island of Saint Helena, Jonathan the giant tortoise roams a large plantation at the official home of the Governor of the British Overseas Territories in the South Atlantic. He may look like a normal tortoise, but there is one incredibly special thing about him…
Jonathan is at least 183 years old today! This photo of Jonathan was taken in 1882 during the Boer War. Scientists believe that Jonathan was a full-grown adult at the time the photo was snapped, meaning that he was at least 50 years old.
A spokesman for the island’s tourism board told the Telegraph, “Jonathan is the sole survivor of three tortoises that arrived on St. Helena Island in 1882. He is the oldest inhabitant on St. Helena and is claimed to be the oldest living tortoise in the world.”
“He lives in the grounds of Plantation House, which is the governor’s residence, with five other tortoises who are much younger than him.”
“Jonathan is still very active despite his age and adores attention. He is a real poser. He seems sightless in one eye, but does not let that slow him down.”
Island guide Joe Hollis explained to BBC why Jonathan appeared to snap at people with his beak. “He doesn’t mean to nip… He just finds it difficult to locate his food.”
According to BBC, giant tortoises like Jonathan can live to be 250 years old! While Jonathan may certainly continue to outlive plenty of the island’s inhabitants, the community does have plans in store in the event of Jonathan’s eventual passing. His shell will be preserved and put on display so that all may honor him.
But in the meantime, Jonathan continues to thrive on his diet of grass, fresh fruit, and vegetables. He even continues to mate with the younger female tortoises, though he has yet to produce any offspring.
The serene setting on St. Helena, as well as having Jonathan as a claim to fame, has made the island a prime tourist destination. Jonathan is often given his privacy, though he does enjoy having his neck stroked — and he seems more than willing to pose for a picture or two.
Jonathan truly is one of the most beautiful and impressive creatures in the world. His strength and perseverance have helped him to become an inspiring icon — and his incredible age continues to earn him the respect and adoration that he deserves.
What do you think of this 183-year-old creature? Let us know in the comments.
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