Sunday, March 27, 2016

World's Oldest Living Animal, 184 Year Old Tortoise

The world's oldest living animal, a 184-year-old giant tortoise, has had its first ever bath.

Jonathan, a giant tortoise living on St Helena, was cleaned up by the island's vet in preparation for an upcoming Royal visit. Almost two centuries' worth of grime was scrubbed off its back using a loofah, soft brush and surgical soap.

Dr Joe Hollins, the vet for the tiny British outpost island in the south Atlantic, scrubbed each of the segments of Jonathan's shell, known as scutes, and removed black sludge and bird droppings while the tortoise sedately chewed on grass. Surgical soap was chosen as it is not caustic and the 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.

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.

The spring clean comes months after Jonathan was placed on a special high calorie diet as it was feared its health was on the wane.

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.

Dr Hollins, 58, said he believed it was Jonathan's first ever bath.

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