The lesion required some rather intensive repairs to Frederica's shell.
The vets were able to determine that she had a slight deformity on her shell resulting from a past injury.
But that wasn’t the only thing they discovered…
A slightly more surprising determination was made.
Frederica was not, in fact, a female, but a male.
Jonathan had been living happily with his mate for nearly three decades, and while their keepers had been somewhat surprised by the lack of tortoise babies, it all became clear when Frederica was discovered to be Frederick all this time.
It turns out that the genders of tortoises are not as easily distinguishable as you might think.
Male and female tortoises do not have identifiable differences.
Gender is told by various subtle clues that can easily be misidentified, such as a stomach shape or small notches in the shell.
The timeliness of the discovery was not lost on residents of St. Helena, who are currently in a fight for marriage equality.
While a bill was introduced in 2016 to allow same-sex marriage, it was withdrawn due to public outcry.
According to The Times, the legislative council has recently been conducting massive consultations across the island “to canvass opinion on whether the bill should be presented to the council before a court case that is set to challenge the current law on discrimination grounds.”
Jonathan and Frederick, however, seem pretty oblivious to the controversy surrounding their way of life on the island they call home.
While he might seem to be rather spry for 185, Jonathan is beginning to show his age.
He’s nearly blind due to cataracts and his sense of smell is completely gone.
His love for Frederick, however, appears as strong as it was when they were first introduced.