The Brazilian turtle Manuela had not disappeared at all. As it turned out after 30 years, she was only lost in the house.

The de Almeida family lives in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is where the surprising story began in 1982 – initially with a sad loss. Manuela, a red-footed turtle, was nowhere to be found.

Manuela had belonged to the then eight-year-old daughter Lenita de Almeida. But the whole family was sad that she was gone. Because craftsmen had left the front door open during this time, everyone assumed that the tortoise had disappeared into the nearby forest. Despite extensive searches, however, she remained missing.

As a video uploaded to the MEET our furry friends YouTube channel shows, in 2013 the de Almeidas set out to give the house’s attic a thorough clean. Lionel, the father of the family, had died and his son Leandro also put a wooden crate on the street for the bulky waste. However, it not only contained an old record player, but also Manuela, who had been missing for more than 30 years and was alive and kicking. Luckily, a neighbor noticed the animal in time.

The astonishment of the family was understandably enormous. How had Manuela managed to survive alone for so long? Lenita was in tears, it was just unbelievable and she couldn’t believe it. The video references a local veterinarian who explained that red-footed turtles are extremely adaptable and can slow down their circulation to go up to three years without food. She probably lived on small insects and found enough condensed water to lick up.

In the meantime, the tortoise – because it turned out to be a male animal, it is now called Manuel – has long since become an important member of the de Almeida family again. And when you consider that turtles can live up to 150 years, everyone can look forward to a long time together.

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