Turtles are some of the most long-lived creatures on the planet, with some species living for more than a century. However, one turtle has defied all odds by living to an incredible 190 years old and still being able to mate. This turtle is Jonathan, the oldest living turtle in the world. Jonathan first arrived at its present home on the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic in 1882. At the time, the tortoise was thought to be 50 years old.
Now, at the age of 190, Jonathan is 122 centimeters long, the same size it was when it arrived on the island. Jonathan belongs to the Seychelles giant tortoise, reaching full maturity by age 50.
Some naturalists suggest that it may even be older. Despite his long life, Jonathan only attracted worldwide attention in 2008 when the Independent reported that the animal turned 176 years old. Jonathan is so famous that he was named the island’s official mascot and even granted his Instagram account.
According to the source, Jonathan lives much longer than the average lifespan of the Seychelles giant tortoise, which is 150 years old. The turtle was only five years old when the Queen of England ascended the throne and lived through two World ᴡᴀʀs. It also lived through 39 US presidential terms.
Born in 1832, Jonathan lived most of his life in the governor’s plantation house. It can be seen as the symbol of the island. Jonathan’s image even appears on the reverse of a 5-cent coin from the island of Saint Helena.
Scientists have even studied Jonathan to determine the health benefits that can be derived from its diet and cells. Because Jonathan’s cells do not ᴍᴜᴛᴀᴛᴇ in the same way as human cells, researchers hope it may reveal the secret to ꜰɪɢʜᴛɪɴɢ ᴄᴀɴᴄᴇʀ in humans.
According to CNN, in St. Helena, the tortoise Jonathan is a real celebrity. Jonathan lives with three other giant tortoises, David, Emma and Fred, respectively.
Although old age made Jonathan ʙʟɪɴᴅ and he lost the ability to smell, the turtle’s hearing is still good, responding well to the sounds of the veterinarian caring for him.
Despite his advanced age, Jonathan regularly mates with Emma (female turtle) and sometimes with Fred (male turtle).
This ability to mate at such an old age is a testament to the resilience and longevity of turtles. In the wild, turtles face many challenges that can limit their lifespan, such as ᴘʀᴇᴅᴀᴛɪᴏɴ, ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ, and habitat loss. However, turtles like Jonathan can live well beyond their expected lifespan in captivity, thanks to proper care and a safe environment.
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