Jonathan, a 184-year-old tortoise that lives on the volcanic island of Saint Helena, is thought to be the world’s oldest living land creature. As of a few days ago, he might have also been the dirtiest.
According to The Telegraph, the geriatric reptile has likely never been given a bath. Since the remote British island territory will receive a royal visitor in May, the island’s vet decided to scrub nearly two centuries’ worth of grime off Jonathan’s shell using a loofah, soft brush, and surgical soap.
The entire cleanup took around an hour. "He doesn't look any younger, but he does look different,” vet Joe Hollins told The Telegraph. “He is much paler and you can see the rings on his shell have almost completely disappeared."
National Geographic writes that Jonathan first arrived in Saint Helena in 1882. He was likely imported from the Seychelles and given to the island's British governor at the time. More than a century later, Jonathan still lives at Plantation House, the British governor’s residence, along with four other giant tortoises: David, Emma, Frederika, and Myrtle. (They will also be given baths.)
Jonathan has lost his sight and his sense of smell, but he’s stayed healthy in recent years with a nutritious diet of apples, carrots, cucumbers, bananas, and guava. Since LiveScience reports that Seychelles giant tortoises have a life expectancy of 150 years, Jonathan continues to beat the odds every day. Now, he'll get to do it while looking as fresh as he feels.
Watch Jonathan's bath in the above video, courtesy of the St. Helena Government.
All images courtesy of YouTube.
[h/t The Telegraph]