Family’s joy at finding pet tortoise ... more than 30 years after she vanished
Sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction. This was the case recently with a red-footed tortoise named Manuela who had disappeared from his owner's home in 1982. Her family, the Almeida's had given up on ever seeing her again.
Then one day Leandro Almeida was taking out the trash from a locked room they had been renovating. It was at this time that a neighbor who was helping asked if he planned on tossing the turtle as well.
It turns out that Manuela had been spending the last 3 decades in a box with an old record player in an upper-level storage room at the family home. The Almeidas speculate that Manuela had eked out a life on the storerooms's burgeoning termite population.
It is known that these tortoises will eat just about everything they can find and according to Jeferson Pires, a Rio veterinarian, the red-footed tortoise has a way of making a meal last a very long time. “They are particularly resilient and can survive for two to three years without food," he said. "In the wild they eat fruit, leaves, dead animals, even feces.”
But the Almeidas are just happy to have Manuela back with them. For daughter, Lenita, the tortoise was a childhood gift. Her feelings about the whole incident were expressed as such, "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."