Skip to main content

Apparently This Matters: Pet tortoises

Pet tortoises are having a big week on the Web, from Brazil to the Super Bowl.
Pet tortoises are having a big week on the Web, from Brazil to the Super Bowl.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Apparently This Matters" is CNN Tech's weekly look at offbeat topics trending online
  • This week, Jarrett looks at a couple of high-profile pet tortoises
  • One is a Brazilian pet who apparently reappeared after 30 years
  • The other will not -- we repeat, "not" -- be playing in the Super Bowl

Editor's note: Each week in "Apparently This Matters," CNN's Jarrett Bellini applies his warped sensibilities to trending topics in social media and random items of interest on the interwebs.

(CNN) -- I once had a pet iguana. His name was Kramer, and he was the biggest, meanest thing you've ever seen. Without question, he spawned from the land of darkness, soon deciding his evil role in life was to make every day miserable for the Bellinis.

And he accomplished this by whipping us mercilessly with his powerful tail.

"Good morning, Kramer."

Thwack!

"Screw you, lizard!"

Eventually, we tired of the physical and mental abuse and sold Kramer to man who might have been looking for an exotic pet, or, perhaps, an exotic pair of boots. Either way, this poor guy was getting an exotic tail straight to the neck. Buyer beware.

Thwack!

"Screw you, lizard!"

\
"Apparently This Matters" Is Jarrett Bellini's weekly (and somewhat random) look at social-media trends.

As Kramer's new owner drove away from our house, thus ended my childhood interest in any pet not covered in fur. For it's hard to be vicious when your primary objective in life is to sleep eighteen hours a day.

But, hey, plenty of other people still enjoy their weird, exotic pets, and this week I stumbled upon a fascinating, if not completely fabricated, story that was trending all over the Web. It was about a tortoise in Brazil who turned up alive and well after going missing from its family more than 30 years ago.

The story, as recounted by several news agencies and websites who seemed not to find anything particularly odd about the details of this miracle, goes like this:

In 1982, Manuela the tortoise vanished from her home in Rio. The Almeida family searched everywhere (well, almost), and finally settled on the perceived reality that, maybe, after workers left a door open, their beloved tortoise just up and decided to leave.

Mind you, very slowly.

Now, fast forward 30 years to earlier this month, when the father of the house sadly passed away. The family, despite their grief, eventually decided it was time to go through the old man's stuff, which was piled high in a second-floor bedroom that was always kept locked.

That's when the son, Leandro, discovered Manuela inside a box with a record player. Presumably listening to old Boz Scaggs 45s.

Tortoises. They're into that.

The family daughter, Lenita, was shocked more than anyone to be reunited with her childhood pet. "We're all thrilled to have Manuela back," she said. "But no one can understand how she managed to survive for 30 years in there. It's just unbelievable."

Yes. It is.

However, a local vet theorized that the notoriously resilient red-footed tortoise, which could have survived long periods without food, possibly snacked on termites. Which explains why, after three decades locked in a room, the first thing she asked for was an In-N-Out burger.

"Get me a Double Double up in here. Animal style, yo!"

Of course, there's also the question of water. Specifically, "Where was it?"

Nothing I read adequately covered this rather important detail, and I didn't exactly raise the bar very high. I literally would've accepted "magic" as a suitable answer.

So, who knows?

But, anyway, that's the (possibly) amazing animal story trending out of Brazil. And the Web absolutely loves it. Though, remarkably, Manuela isn't the only pet tortoise who has recently found its way into the world's collective consciousness.

There's also Sammy -- the beloved 100-pound companion of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who will be playing in Super Bowl XLVII this weekend in New Orleans.

Kaepernick. Not Sammy. Though, the latter would be far more interesting. Especially when it starts eating the 30-yard-line.

"This tastes terrible."

"It's synthetic turf."

"Well, I'll be damned." Munch. Munch. "Say, aren't you Beyonce?"

Anyway, there's my feeble attempt to somehow relate all this to the Super Bowl.

Naturally, Sammy the tortoise won't be on Kaepernick's mind on Sunday when he takes on the Baltimore Ravens. But there's a pretty good chance you'll hear about the exotic pet in one of those over-produced, pregame mini-biopics. Perhaps even punctuated by the music of Boz Scaggs.

Tortoises. They're into that.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Apparently This Matters...
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 2214 GMT (0614 HKT)
I vaguely recall Pizza Hut's Book It elementary school reading incentive program. Though, to be fair, I vaguely remember what I had for breakfast.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 2337 GMT (0737 HKT)
It took a lot of effort for Leo Bonten to turn his amputated leg into a fully functional lamp. For starters, he had to break the damn thing in a freak kiddie pool accident.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 0022 GMT (0822 HKT)
If you asked me -- and God knows nobody has -- I would have to guess that never in the history of humankind has anyone ever actually slipped on a banana peel.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 2223 GMT (0623 HKT)
I'm a napper.
September 8, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
Since the beginning of time, man has looked up into the cosmos at those shiny, twinkling stars and thought, "I wonder if lizards would do each other up there?"
August 23, 2014 -- Updated 1528 GMT (2328 HKT)
We all have weird, irrational concerns.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 0225 GMT (1025 HKT)
"What does this thing do?"
August 8, 2014 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Despite all the political tension in Crimea, it's nice to know things are still safe enough at the zoo for a zebra to get it on with a donkey.
August 2, 2014 -- Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT)
Justin Sylvester's wife is pregnant. With a baby.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 0010 GMT (0810 HKT)
There's a famous scene in the movie "Titanic" where Rose turns to Jack and says, "I want you to draw me like one of your French girls."
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 2015 GMT (0415 HKT)
For several months in 2003, I did the whole European backpacker thing. Which is to say I've seen nearly every cathedral within 1,000 square miles of the Danube.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1917 GMT (0317 HKT)
The other day I saw a death metal band hanging out by their tour van in the parking lot behind a club. They were all dressed in black, and may or may not have been working on lyrics to a new song about fire and lamb meat.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
There are two good reasons to own a giant trampoline.
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 2251 GMT (0651 HKT)
I would love to say my dog is intellectually qualified to be a service animal. But he's not. There's barely enough brainpower there to be a lamp.
June 8, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
I've never really needed an extra ear.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 2032 GMT (0432 HKT)
I never actually caught a glimpse of the Tooth Fairy when I was young, but she was definitely real and in cahoots with my mom. This, due to the fact that I never woke up to find a Nintendo.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 1957 GMT (0357 HKT)
Have you ever seen a man running in a marathon, bleeding from his nipples?
May 16, 2014 -- Updated 1952 GMT (0352 HKT)
Brace yourselves, because this week's story is about sperm and poop.
ADVERTISEMENT