Tortoise Named Jonathan Celebrated His 191st Birthday Earlier This Year


Jonathan the Tortoise is still kicking.

Seeing this on Twitter prompted me to type in on Google “what is the oldest living thing on Earth?”

Other than Loyola Chicago’s Sister Jean and some other plants and trees (those don’t count), Jonathan the Tortoise is making a hell of a run for oldest being on the planet and is officially the oldest living land animal.

Jonathan celebrated his 191st birthday this past February at his home on the Island of Saint Helena, all but confirming that those who embrace the “Salt Life” by the ocean might be on to something if they wish to live long like this tortoise.

Jonathan was at full maturity in 1886, so he has just been “straight vibing” for the last 136 years as a full blown tortoise adult. He is somewhat of a celebrity on his native island, and is even featured on the flip side of the Saint Helena five pence coin.

Everything about Jonathan’s face in this picture says “I have been here for a long damn time:”

Can you imagine being around for almost 200 years? What an incredible feat by this Tortoise, who apparently spends most of his days sunning himself, napping, eating, and spending time with his mate (sounds heavenly).

Here are some interesting “this is how long Jonathan the Tortoise has been alive” facts:

-He was born when Andrew Jackson was the President of the United States and is only 56 years younger than the United States of America

-Jonathan is three years younger than the invention of the wrench

-He pre-dates the invention of the stamp by five years

-Jonathan lived through both World Wars

-He was alive before the first ever picture was taken

-Jonathan was alive almost 50 years before the invention of the lightbulb

You get the picture right? This tortoise has seen a lot in his lifetime.

Back on his 190th birthday, Jonathan was gifted a specially made dietary birthday cake by the staff that take care of him on a regular basis. I hope that they do that every year and not just on the “big” birthdays.

Jonathan is unfortunately blind and has lost his sense of smell, but he still loves to be surrounded by human company and spends a lot of time with his three tortoise friends David, Fred, and Emma (who is naming these Tortoises?).

The entire point of this article is to just say “damn this tortoise is old,” and apparently his secret to living a long and happy life is to listen to old outlaw country (okay, I made that part up).

Long live Jonathan the Tortoise.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock