It's always so sad to see a missing pet sign on a telephone pole or in a store window, but it is heartwarming to hear about happy reunions between fur babies and their families. Sometimes, those reunions happen weeks and even years after a pet has gone missing, but one beloved animal has all of those stories beat. That pet was found alive a whopping 30 years after it went missing. That in and of itself is pretty crazy but what is more bizarre is that during that whole time, the pet was in the same house as the family, right above their heads in the attic.
It may seem impossible for any animal to live so long under those conditions, until you learn that the pet was actually a tortoise named Manuela. When she first went missing, her family just figured Manuela got out while they were having electrical work done in their house in Rio de Janeiro. They searched for her but after some time, accepted that she was gone and moved on with their lives. Aside from occasionally fondly reflecting on her, they didn't think much about Manuela until three decades later, when the family's patriarch passed away. At that point, relatives went into 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.
So how an animal can survive for so long alone in an attic? Well 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 likely 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 these days than he did over the last 30 years. No word on his exact age but tortoises can live to be 255 years old.