Jonathan the giant tortoise, at 190, is the oldest land animal on the planet

A giant tortoise living on a remote island in the South Atlantic, at 190 is the world’s oldest land animal

A Seychelles giant tortoise living on the remote South Atlantic Ocean island of St Helena Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, is believed to be an incredible 190 years old. His name is Jonathan, he weighs 200kg, and experts think he could well be the oldest living land animal on the planet.

There is the possibility that Jonathan is even older than 190, because his exact date of birth is unknown. In 2019 he was entered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living animal.

His caretaker Joe Hollins recently told The Washington Post, “While wars, famines, plagues, kings and queens, and even nations have come and gone, he has pottered on, totally oblivious to the passage of time”.

“Jonathan is a symbol of persistence, endurance, and survival, and has achieved iconic status on the island”, he added. There is talk that the island might even commission a commemorative stamp in his honour, or even name a national holiday after him in 2022.

Jonathan lives at Plantation House, and an old photo that was taken sometime between 1882 and 1886, shows him grazing there in the grounds. At the time of the picture he is estimated to have been around 50 years old, which means he could have been hatched around 1832.

A Seychelles tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa) has an average life expectancy of around 150 years. Jonathan has now sadly lost his sense of smell and is blind, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at