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Pet Tortoise Found Alive and Well After 30 Years in Storeroom

Pet Tortoise Found Alive and Well After 30 Years in Storeroom

Editorís note:†This post is a Care2 favorite. It was originally posted on January 31, 2013. Enjoy!

Thirty years ago, a family in Rio Janeiro, the Almeidas, concluded that Manuela, their red-footed tortoise, had escaped through a door left open by workers renovating the house. But just this week, Leandro Almeida was more than startled to discover that Manuela was very much alive, having lived for three decades in an upstairs storeroom.

For years and years, Leandro’s father, Leonel Almeida, had been stowing away electronic equipment (some of it broken) and other junk in the second floor of his house. After his death earlier this January, Leandro and his siblings cleaned out their father’s residence.

It was while Leandro was taking out bags of trash that a neighbor asked him if he was throwing out a pet, too. Leandro then discovered Manuela inside a box holding an old record player. “At that moment I was white and did not believe,” he says to

Veterinarian Jeferson Pires explains that Manuela was able to survive for nearly a third of a century surrounded by old televisions because red-footed tortoises like her can survive for long periods (two or three years) without eating. In the wild, the tortoises eat “fruit, leaves, feces, dead animals.”

Red-footed tortoises (Chelonoides carbonaria) are native to northern South America. Adults are about a foot long and can grow to be over 16 inches; Almeidas suspect that Manuela survived by living on termites.† does not say how long Manuela was after years of a very stringent diet.

It goes without saying that it is remarkable that Manuela survived for all those years, given that red-footed tortoises should ideally have water “at all times and at least every other day” to drink and soak themselves in; without these, they are likely to become dehydrated. A “wet muddy area” is also a plus. In addition, the tortoises also need UVB light to bask in, for vitamin D3 synthesis.

Manuela has now resumed the routines she enjoyed prior to her 30-year stay in the storeroom (which, the Almeidas suspect, someone may have placed her into). The tortoise is back to walking around the garden, eating leaves and getting to know a new generation of Almeidas. In captivity, red-footed tortoises have lived for about 30 years.†Here’s to hoping that Manuela, now that’s she been set free after so long, can enjoy her time in the sunshine, with some wet mud never too far away for her to wallow in.

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11:35AM PST on Mar 7, 2015

Incredible story. Thank you.

4:40AM PDT on Oct 28, 2014

Amazing story...happy for this turtle's return to his normal life!

9:37PM PDT on Oct 16, 2014

I wish they would stop perpetuating this impossible story. No food or water for 30 years? Nothing can live like that. Some type of sustenance had to be there. Their bodies are no different than humans in that they require food and water to survive. Red foots will eat bugs, worms so it might have scrounged them. But states none was available.

5:26PM PDT on Oct 6, 2014

Wow amazing story! this must serve like an example for most current loose girls nowadays about staying and living cleverly at home! hehe :))))

9:05PM PDT on Oct 3, 2014

Neat story, glad to know that the tortoise survived.

10:29PM PDT on Oct 1, 2014

What a delightful story, thankyou.

9:47AM PDT on Sep 30, 2014

Sounds like a fairytale about patience and survival,

9:14AM PDT on Sep 30, 2014


6:26AM PDT on Sep 30, 2014

For the horses and goats from PETROPOLIS please sign the petitions :
Care 2 - and - ♞
To see more : misfed. - Rip - Rip - misfed - Rip


6:25AM PDT on Sep 30, 2014

★ ★ ★ GREAT NEWS ★ ★ ★

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