Giant Tortoise Gets His Very First Bath At 184 Years Old

Jonathan the giant tortoise experienced a bath for the first time, at least in recorded history, at the ripe old age of 184.

tortoise first bath

A resident of St. Helena Island in the South Atlantic, Jonathan is  the oldest known animal on Earth.

His scrub down, administered by veterinarian Joe Hollins, lasted only about an hour. Just a bucket of soapy water, a soft brush, a loofah and one very indifferent tortoise.

tortoise first bath

Jonathan is now, a somewhat cleaner 184-year-old tortoise.

Giant tortoises are famed for their epic life spans. One named Adwaitya reached 255 before her death at the Calcutta Zoo in 2012. On average, they live around 150 years.

tortoise first bath

Most of today’s giant tortoises are confined to islands and belong to several subspecies, like the Galapagos giant turtle, which is native to the island that bears his name.

There’s no medical reason for this tortoise to be bathed, but Jonathan’s keepers thought everything, including the resident tortoise, could use a washing up before a member of the British royal family visits.

“What an honor,” Hollins says in the video at the scrubbing’s conclusion, “to be looking after the oldest living land animal. What an amazing thing.”

tortoise first bath

But for Jonathan, who has been alive during the reign of no less than eight British monarchs, it may take a little more than soap and water to be amazed.

Watch the full video below:


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