Pets
Family cleans house and finds pet tortoise missing since 1982
While cleaning out the attic, they were going to throw away an old record player, until the old tortoise's peeking out of the box.
Eduardo Gaskell
11.10.21

Tortoises can live up to a hundred years or more. Way more. It doesn’t help that they’re silent and slow so when a pet tortoise goes missing, it’s anyone’s guess as to what happened to the reptile.

They are literally lost and found creatures at times.

YouTube
Source:
YouTube

The Almeida family from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, had a pet tortoise named Manuela. Lenita Almeida got the tortoise as a childhood pet. But in 1982, Manuela went missing. The family was devastated.

The only possibility, at least in their heads, was that Manuela crawled out into the forest when construction workers left a door open.

YouTube
Source:
YouTube

Now fast forward thirty years later.

When Lionel Almeida, Lenita’s father, passed away in January of 2013, his kids went up to the second floor to clean out a storage space their father used as they could still utilize the extra space.

Leandro, Lenita’s brother, found a box with an old record player. He wanted to throw it away but his neighbor suddenly asked if he also meant to throw away the tortoise peeking out of the box.

YouTube
Source:
YouTube

Leandro was looking at Manuela the lost tortoise, alive after thirty long years!

At that moment I turned white, I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

Manuela found himself back with Lenita, who really missed the tortoise and had given up all hope of finding the animal.

YouTube
Source:
YouTube

She admitted that looking for the tortoise in the second floor storage room never crossed her mind.

Everything my father thought he could fix, he picked up and brought home. If he found an old television he thought he might be able to use a part of it to fix another one in the future, so he just kept accumulating things.”

Lenita continued,

“We never dared go inside that room. We’re all thrilled to have Manuela back. But no one can understand how she managed to survive for 30 years in there, it’s just unbelievable.”

YouTube
Source:
YouTube

It’s almost like with Lionel’s passing, a long lost member of the family came back. Even though Manuela never really left. But really, who knew the tortoise had been living with them this whole time.

Thirty long years!

YouTube
Source:
YouTube

Naturally, with stories like these, a lot of people questioned its nature with many skeptical about Manuela surviving without food, water, air, and vegetation. But these tortoises are tough!

YouTube
Source:
YouTube

Rio de Janeiro veterinarian Jeferson Pires says that red-footed tortoises are actually very resilient,

“They are particularly resilient and can survive for two to three years without food. In the wild, they eat fruit, leaves, dead animals, even feces.”

Although Pires also believes Manuela had been living off termites from the wooden floors.

YouTube
Source:
YouTube

Anthony Pilny is a veterinary surgeon and specialist in birds and reptiles at the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine in New York City.

Apparently, reserve fat pads allow these creatures to survive in case there’s no food. Tortoises also possess the ability to lower their body temperatures including other bodily tricks. They enter a temporary state of suspended animation which they can get out of as needed.

What do you think? Listen to Manuela’s story below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Article Sources:
To learn more read our Editorial Standards.
Share this article
By Eduardo Gaskell
hi@sbly.com
Eduardo Gaskell is a contributor at SBLY Media.
Advertisement
Advertisement