Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tortoise locked in a storeroom for 30 years

A FAMILY who lost their pet tortoise more than 30 YEARS ago have found it alive and well - in a store room that was kept LOCKED.

Manuela disappeared from her home in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1982 and despite an extensive search was never found.

Her owners, the Almeida family, thought she had escaped - slowly - through the front door that had been left open by builders who were working on the house at the time.

But after dad Leonel died this month, the Almeidas made the remarkable discovery.

They were clearing out his locked second-floor room filled with old electrical items when Leonel’s son Leandro found Manuela alive inside a box containing an old record player.

He told Brazil’s Globo G1 website: “I put the box on the pavement for the rubbish men to collect, and a neighbor said, ‘You’re not throwing out the turtle as well are you?’

“I looked and saw her. At that moment, I turned white, I just couldn't believe what I was seeing.”

Daughter Lenita, who had been given the tortoise as a childhood pet, said: “’We’re all thrilled to have Manuela back.

“But no-one can understand how she managed to survive for 30 years in there, it’s just unbelievable.”

Experts think the tortoise survived by eating termites from the wooden floors.

Rio vet Jeferson Pires explained that Manuela’s red-footed species of tortoise can go for long periods without eating.

He said: “They are particularly resilient and can survive for two to three years without food. In the wild they eat fruit, leaves, dead animals, even feces.”


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