5-speed listening (Tortoises - Level 3)

World's oldest land animal celebrates 190th birthday



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Everybody likes a birthday. Some people live long enough to have 120 of them. The world's oldest land animal has just celebrated his 190th birthday. The animal is a Seychelles giant turtle called Jonathan. Zoologists believe he was born in 1832, but there are no official records of his birth. Some scientists think Jonathan might actually be ten years older. He could be as old as 200. Jonathan was born in the Seychelles. He was taken to the British overseas territory of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean in 1882 as a gift for the St Helena governor. Jonathan was born before Britain's Queen Victoria became queen, and before the invention of the postage stamp, Morse code, refrigeration, and the gun*.

Jonathan's vets say he had a good birthday. There was a three-day party for him. Chefs made him a special tortoise birthday cake that was full of his favourite vegetables. St Helena also launched a set of special postage stamps to celebrate his birthday. Unfortunately, Jonathan did not get to see any of the celebrations because he is blind. He also has no sense of smell. However, he has an excellent sense of hearing, so he could hear "Happy Birthday" being sung. Jonathan's vet, Joe Hollins, said the giant tortoise still has plenty of energy. He also likes to relax in the sun. Mr Hollins said: "On mild days, he will sunbathe – his long neck and legs stretched fully out of his shell to absorb heat and transfer it to his core."

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