She has lived through the reign of six monarchs, survived two world wars, and has witness mankind go from horse and cart to the International Space Station.
And, for almost all of her 116 years, she has suffered the embarrassment of being confused for a man.
Tommy the tortoise is certainly in the running to be crowned Britain’s oldest pet – and, having never been to see a vet once in her life, is certainly Britain’s healthiest.
Tommy has been passed through three generations of the Cloonan family. She currently is the beloved pet of 57-year-old Sheila Floris – the granddaughter of her first owner – in Croydon, south London.
The tortoise was bought at a market in 1909, and was believed to be about 10 years old at the time – which would place her birthday in 1898.
For years the family thought Tommy was a boy, thus the name, and they were none the wiser until their male tortoise laid eggs about 20 years ago.
‘The name had stuck for so long, we couldn’t change it, said Mrs Floris. ‘She is the ultimate tomboy.’
She added that part of the gender mix up came from the fact that Tommy had never been taken to a vet.
She said: ‘My mum never took her to a vet and Tommy was fine. When I inherited her I asked lots of people whether I should get her checked out but we decided not to tempt fate.’
Born in the reign of Queen Victoria, Tommy has outlived kings Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI – and is still going strong with Queen Elizabeth II.
She was a teenager when the Titanic sank, and has borne silent witness to the outbreak of the first and second world wars, the invention of the motor vehicle and the aircraft, the television and the internet.
Mrs Floris said: ‘She has had a rich and full time, and lived through many changes along the way. She really is the best pet I could ask for.’