Jonathan the Tortoise, the World’s Oldest Land Animal, Celebrates 191st BirthdayAldabra tortoises are so named because of where they are found in the wild, the Aldabran Atoll off the coast of the Seychelles.

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Jonathan the Tortoise, the World’s Oldest Land Animal, Celebrates 191st Birthday

Jonathan spent more than 30 years trying to mate with Frederica, who turned out to be Frederic.

Aldabra tortoises are so named because of where they are found in the wild, the Aldabran Atoll off the coast of the Seychelles

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An Aldabra giant tortoise (Geochelone gigantea)named Jonathan has celebrated his 191st birthday on the island of St. Helena, a British territory off the coast of Angola and Namibia.

Jonathan is considered to be the world’s oldest land animal. He was brought to St. Helena from the Seychelles in 1882. He is best known to have spent more than 30 years trying to mate with Frederica, an Aldabra tortoise also on the grounds of Ste Helena’s Plantation House, who turned out to be Frederic.

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Jonathan world's oldest tortoise

Jonathan lives on the grounds of Plantation House on St. Helena. Photo by Snapper Nick/Shutterstock

His birth year is set at 1832, but he wasn’t found until 1882 when he was sent to St. Helena. Other notable events that have transpired during Jonathan’s lifetime include the first telephone call in 1876, the invention of the computer, the cure for polio, the COVID19 pandemic, the first man in flight in 1903 with the Wright brother’s airplane, and Neil Armstrong’s first walk on the moon.

Aldabra Tortoise Information

Aldabra tortoises are so named because of where they are found in the wild, the Aldabran Atoll off the coast of the Seychelles. The giant tortoises can weigh up to 500 pounds, making them one of the biggest tortoises in the world. The Galapagos tortoise is bigger. Mostly herbivores, the Aldabra tortoise feeds on grasses, leaves, plants, stems and weeds.


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The tortoises were once found on most of the islands in the Indian Ocean. They were hunted for their meat and disappeared from Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion islands until 1900, when Charles Darwin offered to pay half the atoll’s lease to anyone who could ensure that the exploitation of the reptile was stopped. Aldabra Island has been managed by the Seychelles Islands Foundation since 1981 as a special reserve. It has been completely protected under the Seychelles National Parks and Nature Conservancy Act, and the giant tortoises have been monitored every month for the past 20 years.