Shell-ebrity: World’s Oldest Tortoise Turns 190

He was born not long after Napoleon died, and is now officially the planet’s oldest known living land animal.

Jonathan the Seychelles Giant Tortoise is celebrating his 190th birthday — more or less — on St Helena in the remote South Atlantic, where the defeated French emperor died in exile in 1821.

Jonathan, it is believed based on shell measurements, was hatched around 1832, and he was brought to the UK overseas territory from the Seychelles 50 years later.

He lives out a comfortable retirement in Plantation House, the official residence of the St Helena governor, where his birthday is being marked with events all weekend including the issuance of a special stamp.

The celebration climaxes Sunday with a “birthday cake” made out of Jonathan’s favourite foods.

He is particularly partial to carrots, lettuce, cucumber, apples and pears, according to his handlers interviewed by AFP in 2017.

Despite his advanced years, he is also partial to a female tortoise called Emma, who is merely in her 50s.


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