Tags: tortoise | miss | 30-year | box

Tortoise Missing 30 Years in House Crawls Out of Box on Moving Day

Wednesday, 30 Jan 2013 04:18 PM

By Dale Eisinger

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A pet tortoise in Brazil that went missing in 1982 crawled out of a box containing an old record player just this week.

The turtle, named Manuela, disappeared at the home it shared with its human caretakers in Realengo, on the western side of Rio de Janeiro, during a renovation of the house. The owners searched high and low for the little reptile, but it was nowhere to be found.

Then the Almeidas family's father, Leonel, died early in January. His children started cleaning out a room on the second floor of the house where he kept old electronics behind a locked door.

"Everything my father thought he could fix, he picked up and brought home," daughter Lenita told Brazil's Globo G1 website. "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. We never dared go inside that room."

It was when Leonel's son Leandro was hauling some of the old junk to the curb that the startling recovery was made.

"I put the box on the pavement for the rubbish men to collect, and a neighbor said, 'you're not throwing out the tortoise as well are you?'" he told Globo. "I looked and saw her. At that moment I turned white, I just couldn't believe what I was seeing."

"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."

A veterinarian explained that Manuela's red-footed species of tortoise, tortoise piranga, can go for long stretches of time without food.

"They are particularly resilient and can survive for two to three years without food. In the wild they eat fruit, leaves, dead animals, even feeces," Jeferson Pires said.

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