The world’s oldest tortoise is in a relationship with a younger reptile, and it turns out that tortoise is a male.
Jonathan, who is 186 years old, has been in a relationship with a fellow tortoise Frederic for the past 26 years.
Jonathan, the tortoise icon
A resident of St Helena, a British Overseas Territory 1,200 miles off the coast of southern Africa, Jonathan is an icon of the island.
Given as a gift to the governor in the 30s, he features on the Saint Helena five pence coin.
Vets decided Jonathan needed a mate in 1991.
And it worked, ‘Frederica’ and Jonathan had enjoyed regular mating sessions every Sunday morning.
After three decades, vets now know why the couple never had young.
Vets find out Jonathan’s mate is a male
Vets repaired a lesion on shell of ‘Frederica’, and it turned out the tortoise was a male.
So he’s been renamed Frederic, according to The Times.
Catherine Man, the island vet, said the pair were ‘creatures of habit’, eating and sleeping at the same times. They live off a healthy diet of vegetable titbits and vitamins.
Jonathan is blind from cataracts and has lost his ability to smell. However, the tortoise has retained excellent hearing.
St Helena’s fight for same-sex marriage
St Helena, which has a population of 4,255, is currently deciding on whether to legislate for same-sex marriage.
Earlier this year, a gay couple applied to get married as the law is unclear on the issue.
The Legislative Council asked for the public for their opinions on marriage equality, with comments needing to be submitted by 27 October.
A Supreme Court hearing on marriage equality in St Helena is expected in January 2018.