Tortoise’s can live for an awfully long time. In fact, the oldest living animal in the whole world is a 184-year-old giant tortoise by the name of Jonathan who recently received his very first bath.
Jonathan lives on the tiny island of St Helena which is a British outpost island in the south Atlantic. Dr Joe Hollins, the vet for the island, was the first person to ever give this aging animal a bath the other day.
Almost two centuries worth of grime was scrubbed off the back of Jonathan using a loofah, soft brush and surgical soap as he prepared for a Royal visit.
It wasn’t until he’d had a proper scrub did Dr Joe Hollins realise that Jonathan had lost the rings that Tortoise’s usually have on their back which usually determine their age. However, it has been confirmed that Jonathan was brought to St Helena has a present to the governor in the late 19th century. At the time, Jonathan was already 50 years old, making him now nearly 2 centuries old.
Dr Hollins, 58, said he believed it was Jonathan’s first ever bath.
He said: “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.
“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!’.
“I just had a bucket of water with some surgical scrub and used the loofah and a little brush and just slowly cleaned him, it was pretty tiring.
“He doesn’t look any younger, but he does look different. He is much paler and you can see the rings on his shell have almost completely disappeared.
“He had black deposits on his shell that came from wear and tear. As far as I could see his shell is in great condition for his age.
“Hopefully he won’t have to wait another 185 years before his next bath.”