Oldest Living Tortoises In The World

10 Oldest Living Tortoises In The World: Everything That You Need To Know

Though tortoises can live up to 50-100 years, or more on average, some may die before reaching 50. At the same time, some may exceed the expected lifespan. You may need help finding the list of the oldest alive tortoises, as these individuals keep breaking the previous records.

Let’s see the current 10 Oldest living tortoises in the world. Rankwise, Tommy, Jonathan, Esmeralda, Mzze, and Poldi are at the top. Then, Torty, Tommy The Pet, Admiral, Adolf, and Diego ranked respectively. Due to the lack of accuracy of Tommy’s age, in Guinness Book records, Jonathon ranks first.

In this article, we provide a list of the ten oldest tortoises. You will learn about their various facts in detail if you keep reading till the end. Hence, let’s start reading.

List Of The Oldest Living 10 Tortoises

Contents

Here’s a list of tortoises that lived relatively longer:

Position Name Of Tortoises Age(Years)Species
1Tommy200-300 (Assumed)Chelonoidis niger
2Jonathan191Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa
3Esmeralda 179Aldabrachelys gigantea
4Mzze130Aldabrachelys gigantea
5Poldi126Chelonoidis niger
6TortyOver 125Testudo graeca 
7Tommy The Pet125Testudo hermanni
8Admiral113Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa
9Adolf106Chelonoidis niger
10DiegoMinimum 104Chelonoidis nigra hoodensis

10 Oldest Living Tortoises In The World

The ages of all of these tortoises in the list are not accurate; all are estimated. As you already know the name and age of those oldest tortoises, let’s learn more about them:

1. Tommy

Tommy Tortoise

Scientists assume that Tommy was born way before the U.S. and French Revolutions. He came to Africa in 1945 and was on trade ships. Then the sailors trade him in exchange for fresh veggies. After that, in 1972, its owner gifted it to Lion Park.

This tortoise is an herbivore whose diet list consists of hay, grass, fruits, and vegetables. Due to its old age, the park authority doesn’t allow the kids to ride on its back. He is also well-known as a weather forecaster; because he refuses to leave his shade when the temperature is going to drop.

  • Age: Around 200-300 years
  • Birth: Unknown
  • Length: 60 inches
  • Weight: 1103 lbs
  • Gender: Male
  • Species: Chelonoidis niger(Galapagos Giant Tortoise)
  • Last Location: Lion Park, Zimbabwe’s capital city. 

2. Jonathan

Jonathan Tortoise

This tortoise holds the record of oldest living tortoise in the world in the Guinness Book. Because this tortoise has more documents and evidence of its age than any other older tortoise. 

Also, as an old tortoise, it has already lost its smelling sense and eyesight. If you ever see this reptile, you will notice that it loves sunbathing, sleeping, mating, and eating.

  • Age: 191 years
  • Birth: 1832
  • Length: 18 inches 
  • Weight: Unknown
  • Gender: Male 
  • Species: Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa (Seychelles Giant Tortoise)
  • Last Location: Saint Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean

3. Esmeralda 

Esmeralda Tortoise

The famous botanist Lyall Watson named this tortoise Esmeralda. It’s currently living on the Bird Island of Seychelles, where it doesn’t need to live in an enclosure. 

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Thus, you can see that it is roaming freely on Bird Island according to its wishes. You can also take pictures when it comes near you.

  • Age:  Approximately 179 years
  • Birth: Unknown
  • Length: Unknown
  • Weight: 800lbs(according to 2002 reports)
  • Gender: Male
  • Species: Aldabrachelys gigantea( Aldabra Giant Tortoise)
  • Last Location: Bird Island, Seychelles

4. Mzee

Mzee Tortoise

You might have heard the name of this tortoise as an example of friendship. In 2004, the Haller park authority brought a rescued hippo to the park. But surprisingly, that hippo named Owen gets closer to this tortoise. 

Mzee also accepted and started to spend time with that hippo affectionately. Currently, Mzee and Owen live separately.

  • Age: 130 years
  • Birth: 1890s
  • Length: Unknown
  • Weight: Unknown
  • Gender: Male
  • Species: Aldabrachelys gigantea (Aldabra giant tortoise)
  • Last Location: Haller Park, Bamburi, Kenya.

5. Poldi

Poldi Tortoise

This tortoise lived for the first 50 years in Switzerland’s Basel Zoo. Then, the authority shifted it to Happ Reptile Zoo. Mainly, Poldi is famous for his couple life with his mate “Bibi.”

They both were born in the same year and married in the 1920s. But, after almost 115 years of togetherness, Bibi started to attack Poldi. That’s why, currently, the zoo authority is keeping them in separate shelters.

  • Age: 126 years
  • Birth: 1897
  • Length: Unknown
  • Weight: Unknown
  • Gender: Male
  • Species: Chelonoidis niger (Galapagos tortoises)
  • Last Location: Happ Reptile Zoo, Klagenfurt, Austria

6. Torty

Torty Tortoise

A person named Stewart Little brought this tortoise to New Zealand in 1916. It is a survivor of World War I and has a war wound in its shell. Though the wound has gotten well over time, it is still noticeable.

This veteran tortoise loves to eat fruits, vegetables, and lettuce. Besides, it spends 6 months of the year in hibernation.

  • Age: Over 125 years
  • Birth: Unknown
  • Length: Unknown
  • Weight: Unknown
  • Gender: Female
  • Species:  Testudo graeca (Greek land tortoise)
  • Last Location: New Zealand 

7. Tommy The Pet

Tommy The Pet Tortoise

It is the world’s oldest living pet tortoise. A British family bought this tortoise in 1909 when it was 11 years old.  At first, the owners assumed it was a boy, but they understood their mistake when the tortoise laid eggs.

Still, at this age, it’s pretty speedy and loves to race around the house garden. Also, its health condition is so good that the owner didn’t ever need to visit the vet.

  • Age: 125 years
  • Birth:1898
  • Length: Unknown
  • Weight: Unknown
  • Gender:  Female
  • Species: Testudo hermanni (Hermann’s tortoise)
  • Last Location: Sheila Floris residence, UK

8. Admiral

Admiral Tortoise

A naval officer brought this tortoise in a cigarette box and dropped it off the tortoise in the Mitchell Park Zoo in 1915. Though he said he would come later to collect it, he never came back.

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Unlike other tortoises, it’s fearless and won’t hide inside its shell if you approach to touch it. Even in this old age, it’s pretty active, and you won’t see any sign of it’s slowing down.

  • Age: 113 years
  • Birth: 1910
  • Length: Unknown
  • Weight: Approximately 650 lbs
  • Gender:  Male
  • Species: Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa (Seychelles giant tortoises)
  • Last Location: Mitchell Park Zoo, South Africa 

9. Adolf

The current caregiver of Adolf, named Sam, has been looking after him for almost 40 years. This reptile loves to eat cucumber and pumpkin. 

If you ever visit to see this tortoise, it will approach you in a friendly manner. But, be cautious while feeding it as it takes huge and dangerous bites from food. Take a look at this Youtube video to learn more about Adolf:

  • Age: 106 years
  • Birth: 1917
  • Length: 4 feet
  • Weight: 600 lbs
  • Gender:  Male
  • Species: Chelonoidis niger (Galapagos tortoises)
  • Last Location: Sam’s Giant Tortoise Farm, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 

10. Diego

Diego Tortoise

A group of explorers picked this tortoise in 1933 from its native Espanola island. In the mid-1960s, conversationalists brought it to Santa Cruz Island. 

Eventually, it was brought to the San Diego Zoo, where it fathered almost 800 in its 87 years of reproductive life.  The authority sent it back to its native island in 2020.

  • Age: Minimum 104 years
  • Birth: 1910s
  • Length: 5 feet
  • Weight: 180 lbs
  • Gender: Male
  • Species: Chelonoidis niger hoodensis (Hood Island giant tortoise)
  • Last Location: Galapagos island

FAQs

In this FAQs section, we will answer a few most familiar questions about the longevity of tortoises:

Is It Easy To Determine A Tortoise’s Age?

No. As they can live up to a prolonged period, it’s tough to assume their age without historical records. Scientific studies of rings, length, and weight of their shells help to determine their age, but still can’t assure accuracy.

Why Do All Tortoises Have a Longer Lifespan?

This reptile species is slow moving which is related to its lower metabolism. Due to this relatively lower metabolism, they also age slowly and live long.
Aside from this, all of those listed tortoises live longer than their expected lifespan due to proper care and love. Regular veterinary checkups, adequate diet, shelter, and adaptive abilities help them to survive that long.

Conclusion 

The ranking of the oldest living tortoises keeps changing as the living ones can die and get out of the old record. In this article, we mentioned the ten oldest living tortoises in the world, according to the current information, till May 2023. Though Tommy is the oldest according to the list, Jonathon holds first place on records.

Besides, The Pet Tommy’s species is now endangered among all those tortoises. Similarly, Diego’s species was also in threat of extinction, but Diego prevented that by producing almost 800 offspring in its reproductive life.

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