December 4, 2008

Tortoise still a Lothario at age 176

Jonathan, a 176-year-old tortoise living on the British territory of St. Helena, routinely mates with three young female tortoises, officials say.

A St. Helena tourist board spokesman said Jonathan is an active animal senior, The Sun said Thursday.

He lives in the grounds of Plantation House -- the governor's residence -- with five much younger tortoises, including three females, the spokesman said, referring to the Jamestown site where Jonathan resides.

He feeds on the grass of the main paddock and is still very active despite his age.

Dr. Henry Nicholls, a tortoise expert, told the Sun that Jonathan is a Giant Land Tortoise, meaning the animal could reach the age of 200.

Giant Land Tortoises live ... a lot longer than humans and, due to this, you need to have several generations of people keeping reliable documents to provide 100 percent proof of its age, he said.

About 200 is a really good age for a giant tortoise. They reach adulthood at 20.