Manuela, the tortoise that survived 30 years in a box
A red-footed tortoise named Manuela mysteriously “disappeared” from a home in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1982. The Almeida family assumed that their pet had lumbered out of the house after builders at the site left the front door ajar.
Recently, Leandro Almeida was cleaning out a storage shed and threw away an old wooden box. “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.”
Even the experts are stumped. Red-footed tortoises have been known to go without eating for two to three years in the wild—but 30 years is off the known charts. He speculated that Manuela had survived by eating termites and other small insects and licking condensation.
Picture by Gabe Ginsberg