Meet Jonathan, the 190-year-old bisexual giant tortoise

·2 min read
A photo of Jonathan at the tender age of 185.
A photo of Jonathan at the tender age of 185.

In the more innocent era of early 2020, we learned about Diego, a roughly 130-year-old Galapagos giant tortoise that had finally retired after spending decade upon decade singleclawedly banging his species as far away from the endangered list as he could. As impressive as Diego was to us then, he now looks slightly less magnificent in comparison to another tortoise—the oldest known land animal in the world—named Jonathan.

PetaPixel tells us that 190-year-old giant Seychelles tortoise Jonathan has been living on St. Helena island for nearly two centuries, first having his presence on the island recorded in a letter by a British governor in 1882. Though he’s outlived the usual 150-year lifespan of most giant tortoises and suffers from age-related health problems like cataracts, Jonathan is still having a great time hobbling around to eat and making very, very slow love to his island friends.

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Teeny Lucy of the St. Helena Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals says Jonathan “has a very good appetite,” loves chowing down on lettuce, and enjoys hanging out (and... more) with David, Fred, and Emma, the other three giant Indian Ocean tortoises on the island with him.

A veterinarian who tends to Jonathan said: “In spite of his age, Jonathan still has good libido and is seen frequently to mate with Emma and sometimes Fred,” explaining that “animals are often not particularly gender-sensitive.”

If you’re interested in seeing what this scaly stud looks like, you can check out Jonathan photographed back in 1886 and then again today. He poses with a bunch of long-dead guys in the first image and, in the second, taken this week, he looks out triumphantly, appearing exactly the same despite all the time that’s passed. (You can see a side-by-side at the top of the PetaPixel article.)

In short: Despite being almost two centuries old, Jonathan is still out there making our entire species—and even a few others—look pathetic and boring for not living life to the fullest, filling our beaks with delicious plants and banging away our retirement years like he will apparently continue to do for years to come.

For more Jonathan, read the PetaPixel article.

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