Jonathan the tortoise and Mischief the cat may have hit the headlines for their longevity, but there are plenty of other creatures giving them a run for their money in the age stakes.
This photo of a tortoise was taken on the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean. The tortoise, named Jonathan, still lives there today. He may be the world’s oldest living animal.
A spokesman for the island’s tourist board said Jonathan is owned by the St Helena government and lives in the specially built plantation on the governor’s land.
He said: “Jonathan is the sole survivor of three tortoises that arrived on St Helena Island in 1882.
“He was already mature when he arrived and was at least 50-years-old.
“Therefore his minimum age is 176-years-old. He is the oldest inhabitant on St Helena and is claimed to be the oldest living tortoise in the world.
Icelandic scientists have found a 400-year-old clam, nearly twice as old as any other animal in history.
The clam — a qahog or, technically, Arctica islandica — spent those centuries in the frigid Atlantic waters off Iceland’s north coast. As the press release notes, “When this animal was a juvenile, King James I replaced Queen Elizabeth I as English monarch, Shakespeare was writing his greatest plays Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth and Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for espousing the view that the Sun rather than the Earth was the centre of the universe.”
Rabbit: Fourteen-year-old George, from Tewksbury, Massachusetts in the US, was recognised as the oldest rabbit in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records earlier this year.
The average life expectancy of a rabbit is six to eight years, making George an estimated 160 years old in human terms. His owners met at college and fed their pet Doritos.
Cat: Spike, a ginger and white tom, died two months after his 31st birthday in July 2001 – making him the world’s oldest cat.
He was bought for two shillings and sixpence in London’s Brick Lane market in 1970 and nearly died at the age of 19 when he was attacked by a dog.
Spike’s owners, from Bridport in Devon, used to put aloe vera gel into his cat food.
Spider: The world’s oldest spider is thought to have been a female from the Theraphosidae family, which lived up to the age of 28. The bird-eating arachnid was captured in Mexico in 1935.
Dog: At 29, black Labrador Bella was thought to be the oldest dog in the UK until her death in September.
She was bought from an RSPCA sanctuary 26 years ago and lived out her long life in Derbyshire.
Guinea Pig: The average age for a guinea pig may be between five and eight years, but the official record is 14 years and 10 and a half months.
Monkey: Bueno, a black spider monkey, died in 2005 at the age of 53 and was thought to be the world’s eldest monkey.
She lived a “stress-free” life at the Japan Monkey Centre in Aichi, 150 miles west of Tokyo. The average black spider monkey lives for between 30 and 33 years.
Goldfish: Tish beat all the records by living to a ripe old age of 43 after being won a funfair in Doncaster in 1956.
As he aged, his scales faded from orange to silver but his owner Hilda Hand said the key to his longevity was not feeding him too much and placing him in the sun every now and then.