Jonathan the Tortoise Is Living His Best Life

Jonathan the Tortoise
Image via Instagram @jonathanthetortoise

Jonathan, a world-famous 190-year-old Seychelles tortoise in St. Helena has officially become the “oldest chelonian” to have ever lived, according to the Guinness World Records.

The category encompasses turtles, terrapins, and tortoises. 


Thought to have been born around 1832, Jonathan was gifted to Sir William Grey-Wilson when he arrived in St. Helena from the Seychelles in 1882. Grey-Wilson later became governor, and a further 31 governors have come and gone in the decades since. 

“Giant tortoises generally live up to around 150 years, so he is doing very well,” Teeny Lucy of the St. Helena Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told photography and camera news website PetaPixel


While the exacts of his origin are still unknown, it is evident that age has caught up with the senior tortoise.

“He is now mostly blind due to cataracts and has lost his sense of smell,” Lucy says. Nevertheless, he knows his territory so well that he moves around the large paddock and grazes the grass with no problems.”

Before Jonathan, the oldest chelonian was Tu’i Malila, a radiated tortoise in Tonga who died at the age of 188 in 1965. 

Despite his age and health setbacks, Jonathan’s personal vet, Joe Hollins, ensures that he still living a shell of a life and enjoys his three favorite activities: eating, sleeping, and sex. 


Jonathan roams free on the grounds of the official residence of St. Helena’s governor with three other giant tortoises and made headlines in 2017 when he was accidentally outed after his partner, then known as Frederika, went for a check-up for a shell lesion. It was discovered that she was in fact a male. 

The 31-year-old tortoise now known as Frederik has been with Jonathan for three decades, and Hollins says Jonathan’s libido shows no signs of slowing down. 


“Age be damned, Jonathan the tortoise can still get freaky,” he exclaims.

However, Jonathan isn’t strictly monogamous. He will also have sex with the female tortoise named Emma. David, the fourth tortoise, appears to be only one rejected by Jonathan’s love. 


When Jonathan isn’t getting it on, he often lives a very sedentary lifestyle just like his erotic companions.

The elderly animal has become quite the celebrity and island officials are currently working on Jonathan’s birthday celebrations, which are planned for later this year.

“We’ll give him a piece of lettuce, with a candle,” Hollins says.

A series of commemorative stamps will also be issued, and anyone who visits him this year will receive a certificate featuring the first known picture of his footprint.


To stay up-to-date with Jonathan’s antics, follow his official Instagram


Leave a Comment