184-yr-old giant tortoise was crowned world’s oldest living animal. Jonathan, a giant tortoise living on St Helena, was cleaned up by the island’s vet in preparation for an upcoming Royal visit.
Dr Joe Hollins, the vet gave the tortoise a bath while it sedately chewed on grass.
Almost two centuries’ worth of grime was scrubbed off its back using a loofah, soft brush and surgical soap, soft brushes and loofah were gently used so not to damage its shell.
It was only after Jonathan’s bath it was realised the rings on its shell, which usually tell a tortoises’ age, have completely worn away.
“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!’”
There was no medical reason for the hour-long clean-up but it was done ahead of a visit by a member of the Royal family to the tiny island of St Helena in May for the dedication of the new airport.
Jonathan, which is 45ins long and can stand up to 2ft tall, was already 50 years old when it was brought to St Helena as a gift to the governor from the Seychelles in the late 19th century.
In its time on St Helena the tortoise has seen 28 British governors come and go. Eight British monarchs from George IV to Elizabeth II have been crowned during its lifetime and 51 British Prime Ministers have served at 10 Downing Street.
It currently shares his enclosure with four other giant tortoises;
David, Emma, Frederika and Myrtle.