A Brazilian family cleaning out a storage room in their house made an interesting discovery last week: a family tortoise thought lost since 1982. The Almeida family believed that Manuela the Tortoise had escaped one day when construction workers left the front door of the house open. When their father Leonel died earlier this month, they began clearing out some of his old possessions. Inside an old box containing a record player sat Manuela the Tortoise.
Leonel’s son Leandro had left the box on the street for garbage collection when a neighbor asked him if he would be throwing out the tortoise as well. "I looked and saw her," he told the Telegraph. "At that moment I turned white, I just couldn't believe what I was seeing."
While the family is happy to have Manuela back, no one is sure how the creature survived inside the box for 30 years. According to veterinarian Jeferson Pires, the red-footed tortoise, a threatened species native to Central and South American, can survive long periods without eating. "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." His best guess is that Manuela survived by eating termites and other insects scurrying through the storage space.
May the tortoise inherit the earth.