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Pet Missing for 30 Years Turns Up

Pet owners everywhere know that the loss of a pet is a difficult time - especially in the case of a missing pet.

Red-footed tortoise

Dealing with the ambiguous loss of a missing pet is exactly what the Almeida family in Rio de Janeiro went through three decades ago. During a home renovation, their eight-year-old daughter Lenita’s pet tortoise, Manuela, disappeared.

They hunted high and low. Their neighbours too. But all to no avail and it was assumed that it had escaped through the gate that the builder left open that day.

Recently, the family’s patriarch Leonel de Almeida passed away. Lenita explained that Leonel used to be a bit of a hoarder and after his death, the family had to sort through all of the odds and ends he had picked up and collected in the attic. Little did they know, a huge surprise would be waiting there amongst decades worth of clutter.

“I put the garbage bag on the floor, and the neighbor just told me, “Are you going to throw the turtle away, too?” Recalls Leandro de Almeida, Leonel’s son. There, sitting in the box of an old wooden speaker, sat a familiar shelled reptile.

Much to everyone's amazement, the tortoise was able to survive for 30 years hidden in the attic! According to professor and veterinarian Jefferson Pires, tortoises are incredibly resilient and can go up to three years without food. The family's red-footed tortoise is omnivorous, and so the family believes that Manuela was probably eating termite larvae.

In any case, the Almeidas are overjoyed to have Manuela back. The tortoise has even had a name change as Manuela has been identified as a male tortoise. He's now called Manuel.

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