Slow and steady certainly won the race in the mysterious case of Manuela the red-footed tortoise, who survived an unheard-of thirty years locked in a shed, but scientists are still scratching their heads when it comes to explaining exactly how the she did it.
Manuela’s family assumed errant builders were to blame for the disappearance of their scaly sweetheart back in 1982, so imagine the surprise of Leandro Almeida when the tenacious tortoise showed up in a box from the shed…still alive.
Though tortoises are known to survive up to three years without food, slowing down their bodily systems to accommodate hardship, three decades of deprivation is unheard of even for this hardy species. The only food she likely had access to was termites and other small bugs and the only water condensation.
Not known as a particularly active animal, according to Wikipedia, it sounds like Manuela was fortunate to make a meal out of the termites before they made her the foundation of a home of their own. They might never have found the poor girl.
Full story at National Geographic.
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