Slow and steady wins the race, as the saying goes. But for a tortoise named Manuela, the race was for her very survival — and slow meant 30 long years, according to The Telegraph.
Manuela went missing in 1982 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her owners, the Almeida family, looked everywhere — or so they thought. Turns out they hadn't checked the storage shed. Or maybe they had, because Manuela was easy to miss. Leandro Almeida found that out when he went to clean the shed decades later, he said, explaining to Brazil's Globo G1 website:
“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’t believe what I was seeing.”
“We’re all thrilled to have Manuela back," another family member, Lenita Almeida said, according to The Independent. "But no one can understand how she managed to survive for 30 years in there, it’s just unbelievable.”
Manuela's new lease on life was especially poignant because family members had opened the storage shed after the passing of Leonel Almeida, Leandro's father, said the Telegraph.
Rio de Janeiro veterinarian Jeferson Pires was not surprised Manuela survived, saying her red-foot species "are particularly resilient," according to the Independent.