4 min read

Tortoise Waited 184 YEARS For His First Bath

It was a bath not only for the ages, but for the very, very aged.

On March 19, Jonathan the giant tortoise experienced a bath for the first time, at least in recorded history, at the ripe old age of 184.

YouTube/St Helena Government

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

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

But you can certainly hear that sponge scrubbing away the ages. And what lies beneath those calcified layers of grime? That ancient stockpile of dirt?

Just a tortoise named Jonathan. 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.

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.

Technically, there's no medical reason for this tortoise to be bathed, The Telegraph reports. But Jonathan's keepers thought everything, including the resident tortoise, could use a washing up before a member of the British royal family visits the island in May.

Indeed, while Jonathan will continue being the same old giant tortoise - we hope for many more years - it's the man who gave him the bath who seems the most profoundly affected.

"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."

But for Jonathan, who, as The Telegraph notes, 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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