Viral social media picture doesn’t show world’s oldest living land animal

15 July 2021
What was claimed

A picture shows the world's oldest living land animal, a tortoise named Jonathan.

Our verdict

It is true that the oldest known land animal is a tortoise named Jonathan, but this is a picture of a different tortoise.

A picture of a tortoise, claimed to be the oldest known living land animal in the world, has been shared widely on social media

It’s true that the oldest known living land animal in the world is a tortoise named Jonathan, at almost 190 years old. 

But the picture shared on social media is not of Jonathan, who lives on the island of St Helena in the south Atlantic. 

The picture can instead be sourced to Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. A post from 2014 on the zoo’s Instagram page identifies the animal as a male Galapagos Tortoise

While fact checking the same picture, Check Your Fact contacted the zoo itself. A spokesperson said the tortoise pictured was in its 50s.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because the tortoise pictured is much younger than the oldest living land animal.

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.