01/31/2013 03:50 EST | Updated 02/01/2013 10:35 EST

Manuela The Tortoise: Missing Brazil Pet Returns, After 30 Years In Accidental Lockup


The prodigal pet returns.

After a 30-year hiatus -- during which the Almeida family had all but given up on their beloved tortoise -- Manuela emerged from an upper-level storage room at the family home.

And he came very close to disappearing, again. For good.

As reports, Leandro Almeida was taking out the trash from a locked room they had been renovating, when a neighbour asked if he planned on tossing the turtle as well.

"At that moment I was white and did not believe," Leandro told the news agency.

A red-footed tortoise, Manuela had been spending his decades in a box with an old record player.

According to, these tortoises will eat just about everything. The Almeidas speculate Manuela eked out a life on the storerooms's burgeoning termite population.

Jeferson Pires, a Rio veterinarian, told UK newspaper The Sun, that the red-footed tortoise has a penchant for making a meal last a very long time.

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

Daughter Lenita told Globo, the tortoise was a childhood gift. "We’re all thrilled to have Manuela back," she said. "But no-one can understand how she managed to survive for 30 years in there, it’s just unbelievable."

Also on HuffPost

Photo gallery rescue pets See Gallery