Such is the story of Manuela, the red-footed tortoise who was recently discovered sequestered in a small room some 30 years after she went missing. The shelled adventurer disappeared in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1982. Although a lengthy search was undertaken to find the family pet, she was never seen again. Her owners, the Almeida family, figured she had ambled out after builders left the front door open.
But when the patriarch of the family recently died, the children began cleaning out a locked storage room. Along with broken electrical items and other assorted objects that the elder Almeida had collected over the years, the son found Manuela, alive, inside a box along with an old record player.
“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?’ ” the younger Almeida told Brazil's Globo website. “I looked and saw her. At that moment, I turned white, I just couldn't believe what I was seeing.”