190-Year-Old Pansexual Tortoise King Is Oldest Living Land Animal

190 is an aspirational age. For any living thing on land, it turns out. Because 190 is the age of the current oldest living land animal. Jonathan, a giant tortoise. And a King. Who happens to be pansexual.

Guinness World Records, who conferred this honor onto Jonathan shares:

Jonathan is believed to have been born c. 1832, thus making him 190 years old in 2022. Jonathan’s age is an estimation based on the fact that he was fully mature, and hence at least 50 years old, when he arrived in St Helena from the Seychelles in 1882. In all likelihood, he is even older than we think.
Jonathan the giant tortoise - the oldest living land animal in the grass
Wikimedia Commons

Around 1886, nearly 140 years ago, Jonathan was captured on camera. But honestly, he hasn’t aged a day. In recent photos, we can barely tell nearly two decades have passed. That’s what being awesome will do for you. Although age is catching up him a bit, Jonathan is generally living his best life. He has outlived his species by approximately 40 years, after all. And maybe even more than that. “Giant tortoises generally live up to around 150 years,” Teeny Lucy of the St. Helena SPCA shared with  PetaPixel. But “he is doing very well… He has a very good appetite.”

Jonathan the oldest living land animal, a giant tortoise, in an image from the 1860s

Healthy appetites are important for a good life. And our oldest living land animal is thriving in other ways too. “In spite of his age, Jonathan still has good libido and is seen frequently to mate with Emma and sometimes Fred–animals are often not particularly gender-sensitive!” Lucy shares.

Listen, the old adage is, with age comes wisdom. And our pansexual tortoise king is making it clear. Life is too short (especially if you aren’t Jonathan), to not follow your heart. We should all aspire to emulate Jonathan in our lives. Jonathan the giant tortoise spends most of his life munching, loving, and napping. That feels like the secret to a good long life. Of course, there are sea animals who are even older than Jonathan, but we may find it hard to emulate them.

On December 4, 2022, Jonathan officially reached the age of 190, and now he is 190 and two days. We can’t wait to celebrate 191 with him. To honor Jonathan and his important milestone, the island of St. Helena, where this oldest living land animal resides, held a three-day-long birthday celebration. This birthday party included an animated video and song about Jonathan’s long existence, a commemorative stamp, and a healthy birthday cake for the tortoise made of his favorite veggies.

So when you wonder about that third nap, just think WWJD? And make like our oldest living land animal. Cheers to you, Jonathan. May it be 200 more.

Originally published January 27, 2022.

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