Meet Jonathan, the world’s oldest tortoise. The 184-year-old animal made headlines after the giant creature received his very first bath. Scrubbing away almost two hundred years of dirt and grime would be no easy feat. Experts debated on what to use to clean the anima;, something strong, but nothing that would hurt the animal.
Jonathan has made his home on the small island of St. Helena after arriving in 1882. The then 50-year-old tortoise was a gift to the island’s governor. As the island prepares for royalty to visit for an airport’s dedication ceremony, St. Helena’s veterinarian, Dr. Joe Hollins gathered his surgical soap and gently brushes to give the world’s oldest tortoise his very first bath.
Jonathan remained calm, chewing on grass, as Dr. Hollins scrubbed away. The vet says he is pretty sure the tortoise enjoyed the experience.
“In the past Jonathan’s keepers had a rather laissez faire attitude to the tortoises on St Helena and so this is probably his first wash in 184 years. We gave him a good scrub as we are expecting a royal visitor who is going to meet him so we want him to look his best,” Hollins explains. “He looks so much cleaner and he seemed to enjoy the whole experience.Jonathan stood like a statue when I was washing him, I don’t know whether that was the vibrations he found soothing or he was thinking ‘at last, I’ve had my first bath!'”
Jonathan can be seen at the governor’s house grazing in the yard, but he isn’t alone. He shares his living space with four other tortoises: David, Emma, Frederika and
Myrtle. The world’s oldest tortoise appears to be in pretty good shape, despite his old age.