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Oldest land animal celebrates big birthday!

Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise, is believed to be the oldest reptile living on earth.

Can you imagine having 190 candles on your birthday cake?

A giant tortoise on a South Pacific island can! Check out this story from USA Today:

By Mike Snider

USA TODAY Jonathan is a giant tortoise that holds the title of the oldest living land animal. His latest milestone: Celebrating a 190th birthday. The South Pacific island of St. Helena, where Jonathan resides, has been organizing festivities for their honored resident all year long – culminating recently with a three-day celebration. When he was brought to St. Helena from the Seychelles in 1882, Jonathan was thought to be at least 50 years old, according to Guinness World Records. Jonathan was a gift to the future governor of the British Overseas Territory, and has lived on the grounds of the governor's residence, the Plantation House mansion, according to Smithsonian magazine.

Since his arrival, he's been joined by three other giant tortoises on the grounds – David, Emma and Fred – according to a St. Helena information website.

Estimated to have been born in 1832, Jonathan holds two records: the world’s oldest living land animal and the oldest chelonian, the category of reptiles including all turtles, terrapins and tortoises.

Even though Jonathan's actual date of birth is unknown, earlier this year Governor Nigel Phillips assigned the tortoise an official birthday of Dec. 4, according to the St. Helena site. The previous recordholder for oldest chelonian was Tu’i Malila, a radiated tortoise that lived to be at least 188 before dying in 1965. Tu'i Malila was given to the royal family of Tonga by British explorer Captain James Cook about the year 1777, Guinness said.


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