Timothy (tortoise)
Timothy was a Mediterranean Spur-thighed tortoise who was thought to be approximately 165 years old at the time of her death. This made her the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

's oldest known resident. In spite of her name, Timothy was female; it was not properly known how to sex
Through sexing, biologists and agricultural workers determine the sex of livestock and other animals they work with. The specialized trade of chicken sexing has a particular importance in the poultry industry....

 tortoises in the 19th century.

Timothy was found aboard a Portuguese
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

 in 1854 by Captain
Captain (naval)
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

 John Courtenay Everard, of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

. The tortoise served as a mascot
The term mascot – defined as a term for any person, animal, or object thought to bring luck – colloquially includes anything used to represent a group with a common public identity, such as a school, professional sports team, society, military unit, or brand name...

 on a series of Navy vessels until 1892. She was ship's mascot of HMS Queen
HMS Queen (1839)
HMS Queen was a 110-gun first rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 15 May 1839 at Portsmouth. She was initially ordered in 1827 under the name Royal Frederick, but was renamed on 12 April 1839 while still on the stocks in honour of the recently enthroned Queen Victoria...

 during the first bombardment of Sevastopol
Sevastopol is a city on rights of administrative division of Ukraine, located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimea peninsula. It has a population of 342,451 . Sevastopol is the second largest port in Ukraine, after the Port of Odessa....

 in the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 (she was the last survivor of this war), then moved to Princess Charlotte
HMS Princess Charlotte (1825)
HMS Princess Charlotte was a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 14 September 1825 at Portsmouth. The occasion was notable for the fact that the gates of the dry dock into which she was to be placed burst because of the high tide and more than 40 people were...

 followed by Nankin. After her navy service she retired to live out her life on dry land, taken in by the Earl of Devon
Earl of Devon
The title of Earl of Devon was created several times in the Peerage of England, and was possessed first by the de Redvers family, and later by the Courtenays...

 at his home Powderham Castle
Powderham Castle
Powderham Castle is located south of Exeter, Devon, England. The Powderham Estate, in which it is set, runs down to the western shores of the estuary of the River Exe between the villages of Kenton and Starcross....

. On her underside was etched the family motto, "Where have I fallen? What have I done?"

Timothy was originally believed to be a male tortoise, hence her name. In 1926, Timothy's owners decided that he should mate and it was then discovered that Timothy was female. Despite this useful information, mating attempts were unsuccessful. Timothy's owners did not change her name, and even continued to refer to her with the masculine pronoun.

Timothy is buried near the place of her demise at the Earl of Devon's home Powderham Castle.

See also

  • Jonathan (tortoise)
    Jonathan (tortoise)
    Jonathan is a Seychelles giant tortoise that lives on the island of Saint Helena.Jonathan was brought to the island from the Seychelles in 1882, along with three other tortoises at about 50 years of age. He was named in the 1930s by Governor Sir Spencer Davis...

    , the oldest living animal as of 2008.
  • Lin Wang
    Lin Wang
    Lin Wang was a famous Asian elephant that served with the Chinese Expeditionary Force during the Second Sino-Japanese War and later relocated to Taiwan with the Kuomintang forces. Lin Wang lived out most of his life in the Taipei Zoo and unquestionably was the most popular and famous animal in...

External links

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