The Almeida family, of Realengo, Brazil, lost their pet turtle Manuela in 1982. They were saddened, because Manuela was beloved. And because turtles have very long lives, so they’d expected to spend quite a bit of time together. But, the Almeidas just assumed that the pet turtle slipped out an a door the construction crew had left open–the family was having its home renovated back then–and returned to the nearby forest.
Then, thirty-three years passed. And, recently, father Leonel Almeida passed away. When the rest of the family returned to the house to clean it out and get it ready to go on the real estate market, they made perhaps the most shocking of all possible discoveries: Manuela was alive and well in a super-cluttered storage room in the attic.
Leandro Almeida was lugging some junk to the trash when a neighbor asked him if he intended to throw out the turtle in one of the boxes. Leandro went “white and did not believe [the neighbor].”
But the siblings took one look and confirmed: this was their beloved pet turtle. They surmised that Manuela managed to subsist on the many termites living in the furniture-filled storage room; none of the family members found any other food of any kind in the attic.
Red-footed tortoises have been known to live for fifty years or more in captivity, so the Almeidas can look forward to some more time with their pet turtle in the coming decades.
(Note: We don’t have the rights to the actual photographs of Manuela, but you can check them out on the Brazilian news site that first reported the story. She looks a little dusty, but surprisingly OK.)