Talk about an atypical missing pet story. Media outlets are reporting that a family in Rio de Janeiro last week found their pet tortoise in a store room in their house – more than 30 years after it went missing.
The red-footed tortoise, named Manuela, disappeared in 1982 and despite a lengthy search could not be found. Her owners, the Almeida family, figured she had crawled off after builders working on the house left the front door open, according to The Telegraph.
But when the family patriarch, Leonel, died earlier this month, the Almeida children began clearing out a second-floor room in the house, an area he had filled with broken electrical items and always kept locked.
Leonel’s son Leandro found Manuela alive inside a box containing an old record player.
“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?’” Leandro Almeida told Brazil’s Globo G1 website.
“I looked and saw her,” Leonel added. “At that moment I turned white, I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”