Family Cleans House, Finds Pet Tortoise Missing Since 1982

Next time I hear someone bragging about being “too strong”, I will show them this article!

Let’s get serious now.. as tortoises are not kidding when it comes to their resilience and longevity.

They have one of the longest lifespans among living creatures on the planet and can live up to 150 years. Red-footed tortoises are native to moderate climates and have a remarkable ability to adapt to different climates and habitats in captivity.

Yet, can you believe that one of them managed to live locked up in the store room for three decades?

In 1982, the Almeida family from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was devastated as they couldn’t find their tortoise, Manuela. Lionel’s daughter, Lenita got her as a childhood pet.

They believed it had crawled into the nearest forest after construction workers at the site left the front door ajar.

Thirty years later, in January 2013, after the death of their father, Lionel Almeida, his children decided to clean a storage room he kept on the second floor, as the clutter took up useful space.

Manuela is again with her family

Lionel’s son, Leandro, wanted to throw away a box with an old record player when his neighbor jokingly asked if he meant to do the same with the tortoise that was poking out of a hole in the box.

Leandro was shocked- it was Manuela, alive after thirty years!

He explained:

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

Manuela was reunited with Lenita, who was ecstatic to have her pet back.

She added that she never tried to look for Manuela in the storage room:

Everything my father thought he could fix, he picked up and brought homeIf 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.

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.”

Life is strange. While nothing compares to the family’s grief for the lost father, Manuela’s return surely healed some wounds, as the family got another member back.

Many were skeptical about the story

In 2013, the story went viral soon after it was revealed, and many were skeptical about its credibility and argued that without food, water, air, and vegetation, a tortoise would not be able to survive.

Jeferson Pires, a vet in Rio de Janeiro, claims that red-footed tortoises are extremely 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.”

Yet, he believes Manuela had been feeding on termites from the wooden floors.

Anthony Pilny, a veterinary surgeon and specialist in birds and reptiles at the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine in New York City, explained that wild turtles have reserve fat pads that they use in the case of scarcity of food.

He added that they are also able to lower their body temperatures and other physiological processes and enter into a temporary state of suspended animation from which they can later recover.