In 1982, the house of the Almeida Family in Realengo, Brazil was under renovation. It was also in that year that they thought their pet tortoise, Manuela, had slipped out through the gate and disappeared into the forest near their home.

However, the red-footed tortoise, who had gone missing for 37 years, has returned!

The Almeida children cleaned out their father Leonel’s storage room upstairs after his death. The room was jam-packed with a lot of things their father might have hoarded from the streets, like broken televisions and furniture pieces.

(Photo from Perla Rodrigues/ TV Globo)

While son Leandro Almeida was about to throw away a box of broken records, a neighbor asked if he intended to throw the tortoise that was inside, too.

“At that moment I [turned] white and [I could] not believe,” Leandro told Globo TV in an interview.

The family believes Manuela managed to live for more than three decades on her own by grubbing on termites.

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