The latest news from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is that a tortoise was found alive after being locked in a closet for 30 years. The story goes that the Almeida family lost their tortoise, Manuela, 30 years ago. They looked everywhere for her, but eventually concluded that she had run away. But when the father of the family, Leonel, died recently, the kids (now adults) were clearing out his room, and there, in the closet, was Manuela. Somehow she was still alive. [telegraph.co.uk
How could this be? A Brazilian vet is quoted as saying that red-footed tortoises (Manuela's species) can go up to 2 or 3 years without food. But not 30 years! To explain this, the vet suggests that perhaps Manuela was eating termites off the wooden floor.
Nature can pull some amazing surprises, so I wouldn't say the story absolutely cannot be true. But I do have some questions:
- How does the family know it's the same turtle? Did they have old pictures of Manuela for comparison? If not, then how could they remember what the turtle looked like after 30 years? They may think they remember, but memories can deceive.
- How do they know the father wasn't feeding the turtle?
- Assuming the turtle was locked in the closet eating termites, how was it getting water?