Oldest Turtles in the World – This One is 157 Years Old and Still Smiling

Oldest Turtles in the World – This One is 157 Years Old and Still Smiling

Everyone on Earth will grow old and eventually die. It is a natural phenomenon that can never be avoided by anyone or anything, even humans.

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However, some animals, like tortoises, seem to have existed on the face of the planet much older than anyone else has.


These creatures are among the few selected animals, who seem to be immune to aging.

Jonathan, St. Helena’s Oldest Turtle

“He is virtually blind from cataracts, has no sense of smell – but his hearing is good,” Joe Hollis, the only veterinarian on the island of St. Helena, shared about 182-year-old turtle, Jonathan. He added that he is probably among the oldest living land creatures today.


Jonathan is actually a Seychelles giant tortoise that was brought to the island in 1882. He was with three other tortoises, whose ages were at about 50. In the 1930s, Governor Sir Spencer Davis gave him his name.

Rumors about his age started in 2008, after Daily Mail published a story telling Jonathan is the same tortoise in the photograph that featured a war prisoner in the year 1900. At the time the photo was taken, it is believed he was already 70-years-old.


Jonathan likes having his neck touched lightly. Despite his age, he can also extend his head out from the shell to a surprising length.

Although he loves to feed on fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, carrots, and cabbage, he finds it hard to find the right vegetation. As a result, he is now malnourished. He became soft and blunt. Nevertheless, Joe makes sure that the tortoise eats well. He delivers a bucket of fresh vegetables and fruit to Jonathan every Sunday morning.

Because of this, Jonathan’s skin now looks great. He can even use his beak as a deadly weapon for those who attempts to sneak a carrot near him.



Adwaita, the Aldabra Giant Tortoise

Tortoises and turtles are known to have a long life expectancy, however, one Aldabra giant tortoise seems to be out of the ordinary.

Adwaita was originally owned by General Robert Clive of the East India Company.

In 1774, Clive committed suicide, leaving his 34-year-old tortoise behind. Eventually, Adwaita was brought to an Indian zoo in 1875. There, he spent the rest of life having several different owners and caretakers.

Adwaita lived until 2006. And at that time, scientists believe he has been around for 255 years already. This only means he was already born long before Lincoln, Mozart, and the French Revolution.


Emerson, the 100-Year-Old Turtle

Though he is still almost 100-years-old, you cannot underestimate Emerson. He has been through a lot, witnessing 16 American presidencies and two world wars.

Before he reached Toledo Zoo, Emerson was once enjoying his life at the grounds of San Diego Zoo. Now, he is nearly 450 pounds, which means he requires a specialized crate for his approximately 2,300-mile journey ahead. His create alone weighs 250 pounds.

Emerson belongs to the vulnerable population of the Galapagos tortoises. These animals can live about 150 years and grow up to six feet long. Even though only two-thirds of their population reach their expected life span, Emerson is still very active.

Jonny Carlson, the reptile keeper at the San Diego Zoo, revealed Emerson is a “pretty active tortoise actually, so it’s kinda cool that they’re going to get one that would actually do better on his own a little bit, because he is so active, and the other tortoises kind of get in his way sometimes.”

According to The Blade, Emerson was a pretty hot attraction over Labor Day weekend, and attendance at the Toledo Zoo was up, “with 5,485 visitors compared with 4,874 on the Sunday before Labor Day in 2013, and 4,150 in 2012.”


See more stories about the world’s oldest animals

10 of the Oldest Animals on Earth


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