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Pet turtle missing since 1982 until family storage room opens

Never open

There was a room in the house that was never opened. The smell coming from under the door was enough to keep them all out.

When they grew up, they still kept the door locked. It was only after thirty years that they knew it was time to take the plunge and enter the room. Once inside, they came across something that left their mouths wide open.

That means good


Leonel Almeida was the head of the Almeida family in Brazil. Leonel spent his free time collecting broken furniture and other things that people thought were trash. For Leonel these items were perfectly good and he could fix them.

Over the years, the family got used to it. The small amount of clutter turned into a mountain of garbage over time. The garbage would even cover entire rooms.

Junk collector


He went out and looked for things and brought them home to add to his collection of other items. They built up over time and became a garbage overload.

A guest room that the family had slowly turned into a storage room for Leonel̵

7;s trash. The tidy piles didn’t last long as they turned into overflowing piles. Then the smell became clear and no one wanted to approach the room now. Leonel then brought something else home.

A gift

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Lenita, Leonel’s daughter, was ready for another terrible gift. She closed her eyes and felt something warm in her hand. When he opened her eyes she couldn’t believe what was in her hand.

Leonel had got his daughter a turtle. Lenita was thrilled and called it Manuela. The turtle became part of the family, but little she knew it wouldn’t be long.

domestic animal

MCR society

Where the family lives, turtles are common pets. They are easy to care for and don’t manage to run away often.

But only after a few days with their new pet did they suddenly disappear. Since their house was still under construction, it was hard to tell where they had gone.



They looked everywhere they could. They checked the garden, outside by the fence, and even on the sidewalk. But her pet had just disappeared.

They looked into every hiding place the turtle might have gone. They just hoped their pet was near some water and away from the sun. The turtle was still a baby and they wanted it to be safe.

Old memory

Flickr // Rami

As every day passed without Manuela showing up, they soon lost hope and got on with their lives.

Years passed as the family pushed the memory of their turtle into the background. Only after Leonel died did the turtle come back to her memory.

The guest room


The siblings, now adults, had the task of getting rid of the trash in Leonel’s old storage room. The room they hadn’t ventured into in years.

They slowly opened the door and the smell of putrefaction hit them. They couldn’t save anything and decided to throw everything on the curb to be picked up by garbage collectors.

The neighbor


Her neighbor noticed the stack of boxes on the sidewalk and began to watch her. He asked the siblings if he could look through any of them.

The neighbor rummaged in the boxes for treasure. After opening a certain box, he had a confused expression and said, “You’re not throwing that out either, are you?”

In the box

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Leonel’s son Leandro looked into the box and saw something that had opened his eyes in disbelief. There was something special among all the trash.

Leandro at first assumed that the neighbor was talking about an old antique that couldn’t care less. But he couldn’t believe what had been in that box for so long. Did his eyes play a trick on him?


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“What?” He leaned closer into the box and his jaw parted. Manuela was … very much alive.

“That’s not possible!” he thought, turned white, then called to the rest of the family. Everyone stood in a circle, eyes wide and speechless. How in the world did it survive?

Know attention

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The turtle was immediately taken to the vet. It probably needed medical help.

They also needed answers. It was thirty years ago! When the vet heard the story, he was also amazed, but nowhere near as surprised. He went on to explain the amazing facts about the species.

Every meal


While most turtles are formidable survivors, the red-footed family are particularly resilient.

They like to eat fruit and leaves, but they can also feed on expired animals or droppings. If necessary, they can go without food for two or three years. The father’s hiding place was also a key element in Manuela’s existence.

Help Hort

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The vet suspected that the furniture he brought home contained termites and other insects.

The turtle could eat them while they repopulated. It could also lick condensation from the particularly humid room. That didn’t mean everything was fine at the health department. The storage time was still far too long.

Experts weigh in


Anthony Pilny, veterinarian and specialist in birds and reptiles at the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine in New York City, had some answers for the family too.

He explained that most reptiles have reserve fat pads that they can fall back on when food is scarce. But he also indicated that reintroducing Manuela into the world could prove challenging.



“You should go very slowly – start by warming her up and rehydrating Manuela before feeding … give her warm water and offer a small meal after she seems stable,” advised Pilny.

“Then take them to a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles for an exam and blood tests.” But it’s not the first time Pilny has seen something like this.


National Geographic

One day, Pilny’s own red-eared turtle disappeared from his tank: “I looked everywhere, turned my apartment upside down, but to no avail. About three months later I was packing to move and found it while cleaning my bedroom closet in a shoe buried in the back of the closet, ”he said.

“It didn’t respond or move, but it didn’t look dead, so I dropped it in the tank. Nothing happened for a few minutes as it sank, but then suddenly it came to life and pretended nothing had ever happened. “

Not from the forest

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“We’re all thrilled to have Manuela back,” said Lenita. “But nobody can understand how she managed to survive there for 30 years – it’s just amazing.”

Your veterinarian Jeferson Pires was equally amazed. A turtle that survives in an attic without food has to be some kind of record! But even though she had survived her 30-year ordeal, she was still not completely out of the woods.

Turtle TLC


In order for Manuela to be rehabilitated, the family must follow a detailed plan to reintroduce better food and water.

And they would have to do it very slowly. After that, they could give him a real home in their garden. In a strange way, her father was the one to thank. How about now

Lifelong friend


The Almeida family still has thirty years to enjoy themselves with their old friend. Yes, these are not pets to be taken in lightly.

They may be “easy” but they are still a long commitment. This is because the pet versions cannot be released into the wild. They will be with you for a long time.

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