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The man with the longest fingernails in the world — Update!

 

Screen capture from YouTube video

Shridhar Chillal, from Maharashtra, India holds the Guinness World Record for having the longest fingernails on one hand. When you add up the length of each fingernail on Shridhar’s left hand, the total length is 909.6 cm - that’s almost 10 meters long (or about the length of two cars)!

He stopped cutting his fingernails in 1952 so he has been growing his nails for over 60 years - that means his nails are older than your parents...or even some of your grandparents! His thumbnail is the longest at 197.8 cm (almost two meters) and grows into a tight coil.
 

A detail of the long fingernails

Screen capture from YouTube video

Having the world’s longest fingernails hasn’t been easy for Chillal. He’s not able to sleep very well,  and has to wake up every half hour to move his hand to the other side of his bed as his nails are extremely fragile. It’s also been really hard for him to ever have a steady job - his nails get in the way of everything!

Now that he’s almost 80 years old, his nails have become very delicate due to his age. He’d like to preserve them in a museum but he’s keeping the date of when he’s going to cut his nails a secret… for now.

UPDATE: He finally cut off his nails!

Shridhar standing in front of a display holding his fingernails

Shridhar Chillal stands in front of a display holding his newly cut fingernails. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

After growing them for 66 years, Shridhar Chillal, now 82, finally had his nails cut off in a special ceremony in New York City. If your family is ever in New York City, you can go and see his nails on display at Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum.

Fingernail Fun Facts

  • Fingernails are made up of a tough protective protein called keratin (say “KAIR-uh-tin”), the same protein that is found in your hair and top layer of your skin.
  • Fingernails grow slowly - about 2.5 mm a month. It is believed that nails can grow faster in the summer because we get more Vitamin D from being in the sun and we generally drink more water in the summer, which helps healthy nail growth.
  • If you lose a fingernail it could take 3-6 months to fully grow back.
  • Although your fingernails grow at different speeds on each finger, this rate doesn’t change - so if your thumbnail grows the fastest, it will always grow the fastest.
  • Toenails grow slower than fingernails.
  • The beginning of your nails is actually under the skin all the way near the first knuckle joint.
  • It is still a bit of a mystery as to why humans have nails other than to perhaps help protect the tips of our fingers and toes, and to use as tools to help scratch an itch or pull out a sliver.