Skip to main content

Family in Brazil Cleans House, Finds Pet Tortoise Missing Since 1982

A pet tortoise thought missing since 1982 was found by its owners some 30 years later in a cluttered back room.

You may have heard that tortoises live a very long time. What you may not know is how resilient, tenacious, and, well, sneaky they are!

One such terrapin named Manuela may have just set the world record for a game of “Hide and Seek” The Almeida family of Realengo, Brazil found out just how long a red-footed tortoise can stay ‘lost’ when it really wants to.

In early 2013 the family’s father, Leonel, passed away and the family decided that it was time to clean out his cluttered back room. Since the father was known as something of a hoarder the room was filled with things like broken TV’s, furniture, and many boxes.

One such box was full of old records which one family member, son Leandro, was taking out to a dumpster. As he was about to leave it, one curious neighbor who was watching him asked if he was going to throw away the tortoise that was inside of it.

Leandro said, “I put the trash bag on the floor and the neighbor just told me, ‘Will (you) throw the turtle as well?’ At that moment, I was white and did not believe.”

It was then that the Almeida family learned, amazingly, that their pet was still alive and kicking.


Since termites are quite common in the region and so much furniture was left in the room, the family considered the possibility that the enterprising tortoise was using them as breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Tortoises are known as very long-lived, albeit slow moving creatures and this one had a plan: live in the back room until the nice family that called him Manuela found him again.

Now some 30 years into the future one tortoise can walk through the same house with a new generation of the family he once loved. Mission accomplished Manuela and welcome home!

All photos via Globo


you might also like

Family in Brazil Cleans House, Finds Pet Tortoise Missing Since 1982