Meet Jonathan – The Oldest Animal On the Planet


Jonathan is a Seychelles giant turtle, the oldest known living animal in the world. Not only is he a true celebrity, but he lives a life of luxury and enjoyment. His is a story that you have to hear.

Beating the Odds

Jonathan was hatched way back in 1832 in Seychelles. He was brought along with three others to the island of Saint Helena fifty years later by the governor, Sir Spencer Davis.

A long lifespan isn’t a strange thing for turtles. For his subspecies, the average lifespan is between 80 and 120 years, at least in the wild. But Jonathan has surpassed that and is still going strong.

In fact, he may break the world record. Another turtle, T’ui Malila, lived to the age of 189. Fingers crossed that Jonathan may have many more happy years of enjoyment.

A Life of Luxury

For the first half century of his life, Jonathan lived in the wild. His first taste of comfort came in 1882 when he was claimed by the government of Saint Helena. Sir Spencer Davis transported him to the South Atlantic island and gave him his name.

Ever since then, it’s been all luxury. The local SPCA of Saint Helena takes care of Jonathan. He is constantly supervised and still lives in the Governor’s mansion. Each day he is given a royal buffet, with a wide variety of tasty vegetables. His favorites are carrots, bananas, apples, cucumbers, and cabbage.

He is kept company by three other tortoises – David, Emma, and Fred. They spend most of their time resting and sunbathing.

An Unlikely Celebrity

Due to his amazing story, Jonathan has become both a local and worldwide sensation. His face is on the five pence coin of Saint Helena and he got to pose with the Queen’s Baton before the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

He was also featured on a segment of the BBC radio. Jonathan also attracts plenty of attention from tourists. In fact, so many people want to see him that the sanctuary had to impose some restrictions on tours.

Jonathan is an icon to the residents of Saint Helena. He is a great symbol of persistence, endurance, and the majesty of nature. It’s obvious to see how beloved and well taken care of he is.

Age Matters

Jonathan’s story is truly amazing. It’s an unlikely series of events that led him from his native Seychelles to a luxurious mansion in Saint Helena.

It’s hard to grasp just how old Jonathan truly is. He has lived through both world wars and has outlived seven British monarchs. He was alive during the terms of 39 US presidents, out of a total of 45. Isn’t that just insane?

Jonathan is also older than the first skyscraper and the Eiffel Tower. And if that was not enough, he is older than the invention of the light bulb. Jonathan’s tale is truly special and wondrous. He is a unique ambassador, both for wildlife and Saint Helena.

Jonathan celebrates his birthday on February 7th. The next time it comes around, remember his unique and interesting story.