Thirty years ago Leonel Almeida and his family were completing a renovation on their home in Rio de Janeiro when they lost track of their pet tortoise, Manuela. They figured one of the construction workers had left the door open, Manuela eased on out and that was the last they would ever see of the tortoise.
So you can imagine how surprised Leonel's son, Leandro, was when he was taking out the trash recently and he noticed a red-footed tortoise crawling around a box next to an old record player.
"At that moment, I was white and did not believe," Leandro told Globo.com (translation via the Edmonton Journal).
Leonel Almeida passed away earlier this month, and his family was cleaning out the upstairs storage room where he had kept many of his belongings. As it turns out, Manuela had gotten trapped in that storage room 30 years ago. For the past three decades, it had been Manuela's home.
The Almeida family speculates that Manuela survived on termite-heavy diet while stuck in the storage room. Yuck.
“We are all thrilled to have Manuela back," said Leonel Almeida's daughter, Lenita. "But none of us can understand how she managed to survive for 30 years in there –- it’s just unbelievable."