St Helena Online

Farewell Thomas, aged 130: not strictly the UK’s oldest tortoise

A tortoise that survived being bombed in World War Two has died at the age of 130, after being bitten by a rat.

Newspapers have hailed Thomas, a small family pet, as the UK’s oldest resident, though actually she (yes, she) had retired to Guernsey –┬átechnically not part of the UK at all, but a British Crown Dependency.

Thomas was 95 years old when it was discovered that she was not, after all, male. Her owners decided not to change her name.

The Sun newspaper observes that Thomas outlived five monarchs and lived through two world wars. However, its picture spread showing Thomas sitting on Queen Victoria’s lap, and beating Usain Bolt in a 200-metre sprint, may have been faked. See it here.

One wonders how The Sun would treat the life of Jonathan, the rather larger and older occupant of the governor’s paddock on St Helena.

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