Family Pet Lost For 30 Years Found Alive In Home's Attic

By Dave Basner

June 15, 2023

Photo: Getty Images

When a pet goes missing, the owners will do everything to find them, from offering a reward to hanging posters across the neighborhood. Sometimes their efforts pay off and the animals wind up reunited with their families, but sadly, other times, they are never seen again.

With each passing day of not being found, the possibility of locating a lost pet get smaller and smaller. However, once in a while, there are happy endings, occasionally coming even years after a pet has gone missing, but nothing like what happened to one family. An incredible 30 years after losing their beloved pet, it was found alive, and it turned out all that time it was right above their heads in their attic.

So how did it live for so long without help? Well the pet that went missing was a tortoise in Rio de Janeiro named Manuela. Her family just figured Manuela got out while they were having electrical work done in their house. They did exhaustive searches for her but after some time, mourned her and moved on with their lives. Aside from fond memories, they didn't think much about Manuela until three decades later, when the family's patriarch passed away. At that point, family members went to the attic to clean out some of his belongings and that's when they discovered Manuela in an old wooden speaker box, alive and well.

You might be thinking that this is impossible, but tortoises can actually go between six months and three years without food. Manuela's family think she survived by eating termite larva, and since there wasn't much water around, she probably got her moisture intake from the young insects as well.

If finding her wasn't enough of a surprise, more recently, they took Manuela for a check-up and found out she is actually male. Manuel, as he is now known, is still healthy, though he gets to eat and drink more often. No word on his exact age but tortoises can live to be 255 years old.

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