world’s oldest tortoise gay ? Keepers finally discover 186-year-old Jonathan’s lover is actually a male after 26-year relationship
Jonathan has been mating with another tortoise called Frederica on the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic since 1991
By Tom Michael
19th October 2017, 10:01 am
Updated: 19th October 2017, 9:49 pm
THE oldest giant tortoise in the world could be gay, it has emerged.
Jonathan – who at an incredible 186 years old is probably the oldest creature on earth – has been living on the island of St Helena since the 19th century.
But experts in the British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic recently discovered the old-timer’s girlfriend of the last 26 years is probably a male, The Times reported.
Tortoises of all varieties do not have easily identifiable differences between males and females.
Instead, gender is told by subtle clues like notches in the shell or stomach shape.
Jonathan has been mating with another tortoise called Frederica since 1991, when locals decided he need a girlfriend after he became irritable and started knocking over benches and interrupting croquet games.
Catherine Man, the island vet, said the two animals do everything together – eating, sleeping and mating at set times.
But while treating the female for a lesion on her shell, closer inspection revealed Frederica could actually be a Fred.
Residents had been baffled by the fact the couple had never had any young – but the revelation could now finally have solved the mystery.
Jonathan is St Helena’s most famous resident and governors are reportedly terrified he will pass away on their watch.
At 186, he has already outlived the life expectancy of giant tortoises – 150 – by more than 35 years.
He has been living on the island since he was given as a gift to the governor by the Seychelles in the 1880s.
Jonathan has since been pictured with royalty and statesmen from around the world.
He even famously once posed with prisoners captured during the Boer War that were being held on St Helena.
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