World's oldest living animal, 184 year old tortoise has first bath

World's oldest living animal, 184 year old tortoise has first bath

Jonathan, a 184-year-old giant tortoise, also known as the world's oldest living animal, has finally had his first ever bath.
 
The giant tortoise living on St Helena, was cleaned up by the island's vet in preparation for an upcoming Royal visit.
 
Almost 200 years of dirt was cleaned off its back using a loofah, surgical soap & a soft brush.
 
Segments of Jonathan's shell, known as scutes, was cleaned by  Dr Joe Hollins, the vet of a tiny British outpost island in the south Atlantic, scrubbing and removing black sludge and bird droppings while the tortoise calmly 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.
 
Only after the tortoise had its cleanse where the rings on its shell visible, 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 declining.
 
The tortoise, over 1.4 meters in length and 60 cm tall, was already half a century old when given as a gift to the governor from the Seychelles in the late 1900’s 
Dr Hollins, 58, said he believed it was Jonathan's first ever bath.
 
"In the past Jonathan's keepers had a rather laissez faire attitude to the tortoises on St Helena and so this is probably his first wash in 184 years.
"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!'.
 
"I just had a bucket of water with some surgical scrub and used the loofah and a little brush and just slowly cleaned him, it was pretty tiring.
 
"He doesn't look any younger, but he does look different. He is much paler and you can see the rings on his shell have almost completely disappeared
"He had black deposits on his shell that came from wear and tear. As far as I could see his shell is in great condition for his age.
 
"Hopefully he won't have to wait another 185 years before his next bath."
Jonathan currently shares his enclosure with four other giant tortoises; David, Emma, Frederika and Myrtle.