(RIO DE JANEIRO) — A tortoise that went missing from a family home in Brazil back in 1982 has been found alive after spending the last 30 years locked away in a storeroom in the house.
When Manuela the tortoise disappeared from the house in Rio de Janeiro, her owner, Leonel Almieda, figured she escaped when somebody forgot to close the front door, reports the website Orange.co.uk.
When Almieda died earlier this month, his adult children began to clean out a second-floor storage room he had filled with broken electrical items and always kept locked. His adult son Leandro grabbed a cardboard box with a record player inside and was stunned to find Manuela in there as well.
Leandro told reporters, “At that moment I turned white. I just could not believe what I was seeing.”
His sister Lenita, who had been given the tortoise as a pet, said, “We are all thrilled to have Manuela back.”
No one is quite sure how Manuela managed to live for 30 years in a locked room, but a local vet thinks she may have survived by eating termites from the wooden floor and licking condensation that formed on objects in the room.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Lorenzo Ferrigno, CNN
Andreas Preuss, CNN
Susan Scutti, CNN